Have a need for some creative gift-giving this holiday season, Reader? How about a framed historical map of your favorite coastal locale?
We’ve always loved seemingly overly functional maps. There’s something oddly beautiful about the juxtaposition of the curving, chaotic, organic shapes of the natural world and humanity’s mathematical, sharp-edged, vector-filled interpretation of it. Old-school nautical maps, with their detailed shipping routes, funny hold-over names, and “THAR BE DRAGONS” are the height of the cookily arcane when it comes to mapping, and we stumbled across a pretty nice online resource for them recently.
Sea Heritage is an online database and marketplace for thousands of digitally ‘remastered’ nautical charts from more than 30 US states and random other places. You can look up, preview, and then order anything from a map of the New York Harbor to sketches of the Sandwich Islands from 1798. Mmmm, Sandwich Islands.
It sounds like most of their framing might be a bit on the lightweight, metallic side, so we’d recommend ordering the frameless prints—it makes for a less hefty price, cuts down on time + shipping, and allows you to get the job done at your favorite local frame shop.
Then you can let that chubby kid hold it until he drops it, get the mouthy kid to translate the Spanish, and GO FIND ONE-EYED WILLIE’S RICH STUFF, READER!
PS—You can look at a larger version of the map above over at Wikipedia. Zoom in for area details. Pretty cool.