Using sea and ocean maps from the turn of the 19th to the middle of the 20th century, the exhibition shows how a new kind of cartography brought the formation of the global world before our eyes: Maritime trade and transoceanic migration appear here, as do the wind and current systems of the oceans or the topography of the ocean floors. The range of exhibits extends from classic sea and world maps in Mercator projection to hand-drawn sketches and bird show plans to sea atlases and map-based advertising posters.
This selection also reveals the different functions and qualities that were associated with contemporary cartography of the seas: Sometimes maps provide orientation, model spaces, create an overview and promise order; sometimes they reinforce arguments, illustrate data, reflect world views or inspire imagination. And some maps raise more questions than they provide answers.
And so the digital exhibition - predominantly arranged with exhibits from the Perthes Gotha Collection and the map collection of the German Maritime Museum - demonstrates how sea and ocean maps advanced to become media of globalisation from the turn of the 19th century. The exhibition is the result of the research network "Map Seas: For a History of Globalisation from the Water", supported by the University of Erfurt, the University of Bremen and the German Maritime Museum with the support of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Accompanying the exhibition, the books "Karten-Meere: Eine Welterzeugung" and "Karten-Reisen: Von Meereswissen und Welterfahrung", which provide in-depth insights into the connections between globalisation, cartography and maritime history.