The Hermon Dunlap Smith Center hosts the monthly meetings of the Chicago Map Society, the oldest independent organization devoted to map appreciation in North America. The Society normally meets the third Thursday of every month during the academic year (September through May/June). Meetings start at 5:30 PM with a social half-hour, followed by an hour lecture on a cartographic subject of interest to its membership. The Society’s meetings are open to the public, but to help defray expenses, non-members are asked for a small donation at the door.
Presentations to the Chicago Map Society range from historical topics to explanations of the use of cutting-edge technology in mapping. For instance, past presentations have included “Ptolemy’s Geography and Renaissance Mapmakers” and a talk on how the use of digital methods has enabled mapping on a whole new scale. Speakers typically include academics, working professionals, and members of the Society. In addition to monthly meetings, the Chicago Map Society occasionally sponsors field trips to view local private and institutional collections; it has published several books that feature cartography in the Chicago area; and, it often provides speakers for area cartographic events. The Society also supports worthy cartographic projects, such as The History of Cartography Project, an important research, editorial, and publishing venture at the University of Wisconsin - Madison.
The Chicago Map Society boasts an active group of members from the Chicagoland area and members worldwide. The only requirement for membership in the Society is an interest in cartography. Membership benefits include a subscription to Mapline, a newsletter co-published by the Chicago Map Society and the Hermon Dunlap Smith Center for the History of Cartography at The Newberry. Members receive monthly meetings notices, and a chance to share maps from their own collections at an annual holiday party.
For information on how to join the Chicago Map Society, please visit their website at chicagomapsociety.org. There you will also find information on the Society’s upcoming meetings, descriptions of its past meetings, a list of the Society’s publications (and those of its membership), and much more.