Tag Archives: Google Maps

Remembering the 1,933rd Anniversary of the Eruption of Mt. Vesuvius

Animation still from “A Day in Pompeii,” You Tube video at http://youtu.be/w82yVDOMIa0

This may seem far-afield from the interests of most historic sites, but 1,933 years ago today, Mount Vesuvius erupted and buried the city of Pompeii (resulting in one of the world’s most popular historic sites about 1,700 years later).  The Denver Museum of Nature and Science is marking the anniversary by tweeting the last day of Pompeii as it happened, starting at 10 a.m. today by @Elder_Pliny (formerly known as Pliny the Elder, who witnessed the events) in preparation for an exhibit on Pompeii opening on September 14.  So far, he has more than 3,000 followers and he just tweeted that he’s preparing his boat to get a closer look (should I warn him?).  Along with the tweets, the Museum has created a mashup with Google maps to follow Pliny around Pompeii, is hosting “Bacchus Raucous” (a fundraising gala dressed in a Roman toga) and is featuring a lecture on Ceren, a Mayan village that was also encased by a volcanic eruption centuries ago.

Thanks to Sandra Smith at the Heinz History Center sharing this clever approach in interpretation.

Google Expands its Access to Museums (but not yet Historic Sites)

Floor plan of the American Museum of National History displayed as a Google Map on a smartphone.

Google Maps recently expanded its capabilities of mapping indoor places (mostly  airports and shopping malls) by including two dozen museums in the United States (such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Indianapolis Museum, and the Smithsonia–the many museums that make up the Smithsonian Institution) and England (such as the British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, and the National Portrait Gallery).  Currently, this feature is only available on Android smartphones or tablets (that may seem limiting but nearly 2 million people have downloaded this app).  More museum maps are in the works but it doesn’t look like any historic sites are participating.  Consider how useful it would be to visitors at such places as Colonial Williamsburg, Gettysburg Battlefield, Sturbridge Village, the Huntington, and James Madison’s Montpelier.  If you’re interested in adding your site details to Google Maps, you can upload floor plans yourself or get help from Google.

In a similar vein, Google Street View just added 360-degree panoramic views of Yosemite and four other national parks in California.  And of course, these are nice complements to the Google Art Project.  It looks like Google is taking a much greater interest in museums along several paths, but historic sites currently seem to be left out of the mix.  I don’t think that’s intentional. I just think it’s a common oversight because most people don’t associate museums with historic sites.  Perhaps I’ll give them a call.

Thanks to John Durel for alerting me to this news item!