New exhibit

The Telluride Historical Museum unveiled their newest annual exhibit Thursday night. The exhibit, “Treasure Maps: Cartography of the American Southwest,” will be on display until March 2017. [Photo by Stephen Elliott]


A three-dimensional map of the Southwest was unveiled at the opening of the Telluride Historical Museum Thursday night. 

The museum celebrated the opening of its annual exhibit “Treasure Maps: Cartography of the American Southwest.” In a press release, the museum said that the exhibit explores “shifting perspectives of the Southwest through the history of the maps that depict it.” 

 “The story we’re trying to tell is the American Southwest as this place where…our imaginations are portrayed, and we’re using maps as a way to show that,” Programs and Exhibits Coordinator Lucas Fredericks said.

A new feature is the “Augmented Reality Sandbox,” as the museum calls it. The sandbox “uses a projector and a three dimensional camera to view the surface of the sand and project real time topographic lines onto the sand’s surface.” 

The sandbox even simulates watersheds. 

“If you hold your hand over the sand’s surface above a certain height, then it will simulate rainfall below your hand,” Fredericks said. 

Several different groups collaborated to create the sandbox, including the Pinhead Institute, Telluride Institute, The Hub, Alpine Lumber and Telluride Mountain School. 

Fredericks said he worked with two students at the Telluride Mountain School on every aspect of the sandbox, from building a PC to carpentry to design. 

“Working with them was an educational opportunity,” Fredericks said. “The idea is that these exhibits are up for several months and then we have to get rid of them. … The Mountain School is very interested in watersheds and resource management, so it seemed like a natural fit. Hopefully, they can also be involved in the ongoing care of the sandbox.”

The museum places a special focus on the often incomplete nature of cartography. 

“Often, cartographers were working with very limited knowledge,” Fredericks said. “(This exhibit shows) some of the things that they chose to fill some of those spaces in.” 

“This has been a fantastic community collaboration where we’re able to use community resources…and make a fantastic exhibit,” Fredericks said.