One thing you always want to avoid in searching for a map or chart for your mural: copyright issues.
This is one advantage of our nautical chart wallpaper. All the images from NOAA charts are free to use, with no issues of royalties nor copyright.
Now, every so often, I'll get a request to do an antique map. But since NOAA doesn't do antique maps, I'm wary because it could be that someone may have augmented the map, and then copyrighted it. This practice is common with fishing maps where a fishing company uses a royalty-free map, then adds its fishing information into the map and copyrights it. To protect our clients from legal action, we will not accept fishing maps.
And while antique maps can have copyright issues, thanks to one of our clients, Karl and Terri Lucas, I have just learned of a wonderful source for maps free from copyright and royalty encumbrances -- The New York Public Library Digital Map Collection.
The list of digital maps they have is magnificent! And maps can be downloaded and used for free.
I'll include some here, but realize this is just a tiny sample of what they have to offer.
Remember the movie Big? The park visited by Tom Hank's character was Playland, in Rye, NY. Here is how an artist depicted Playland in 1927.
And for those who long for Long Island, here's a cool antique map that shows Long Island in its entirety and also Block Island, Nantucket Cape Cod.
I often waxed poetic about old cartouches and the art that appears on old maps. Here is a wonderful example of a cartouche with a historic map of Maryland, Virginia, and the Carolinas back in the days of the colonies.
One thing about old maps. It is both amusing and instructive to see what the cartographer knew and mapped, and what they didn't know. This next map, made in 1741, shows a pretty empty Pacific Ocean. Notice Australia, only partly drawn, but by the pink coloring, it is evident that the cartographer thinks New Guinea is part of Australia. And as for the rest of the Pacific Ocean's archipelagos, well, that task will await yet another cartographer with better information.
You will find old maps of cities (mostly New York cities) parts of the United States and some very cool Ocean maps. This is a site where you can spend several hours checking out their digital collection. And if antique maps relate to your interest, then, by all means, let's make a mural of your favorite old map for your wall.
In the weeks to come, I'll do a blog about Karl and Terri's mural where they changed colors of their antique West Indies map to Benjamin-Moore's New York State of Mind Blue and Cloud White (an ivory color). I will wait until they get it installed, then share pictures.
For the meantime, why not take a virtual trip to 42nd Street and 5th Avenue (the address of the New York Public Library) and check out the digital maps.
Remember: Nothing is sadder than an empty wall. Fill your wall with an eye-catching mural from Nautical Chart Wallpaper.
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