Tag Archives: Washington

Fort Vancouver Has a Great Visitor Map (and a Lousy One, Too)

The simplest things impress me when I visit historic sites, like a good visitor map.  They’re hard to find so when I spot one, I’m thrilled.

I recently visited Fort Vancouver National Site in Vancouver, Washington, across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon. In the Visitor Center, they provide a visitor map printed on 11 x 17″ paper that’s gathered in pads of 50 sheets. I’ve always loved these tear-off maps because they’re always neat and generously sized, and in this particular case, also well designed. Even though it’s simply printed with black ink on white paper, the designer carefully used tinting, serif and sans serif faces in different sizes, varied line weights, and symbols to help visitors easily find their way around this very large site. Most important, information that is not important to visitors is omitted. On the back side are Continue reading

Snapshots from the AAM Annual Meeting in Seattle

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The American Alliance of Museums finished up their annual meeting in Seattle this week with about 5,000 people in attendance, including many from China, England, and Canada.  The weather was jaw-dropping beautiful so trading it for the sessions indoors was a dilemma at times, but nothing would have pulled me away from the opening plenary which featured Erik Larson, author of Isaac’s Storm and Devil in the White City, who discussed his process for writing these histories.   He doesn’t think of himself as an historian, however, but as an “animator of history” who seeks to “create a rich historical experience.”  Hmm.  Sounds like what historic sites do.  I was also provoked by several very intriguing sessions related to history museums and I’ll be sharing highlights soon.  In the meantime, enjoy these snapshots from the annual meeting.