Relief Map Restoration Project Maps

Relief Map Restoration ProgressIf you would like additional photographs of your map of interest, please contact the Assistant Director of the Carographic Library:

Tanya Buckingham
phone: 608-262-1363
email: tbuckingham@wisc.edu

Donate to the Relief Map Restoration Fund

M–90: Permanent Exhibit, Robinson Map Library

Exhibit will feature the Yosemite relief map M-64 in a special display table, including educational materials about cartography, Yosemite regional geology, wilderness-human environmental interactions, and commentary by Dr. Tom Vale, a writer and researcher of the Yosemite region.

Status:Completed, $4000 pledged by UW General Library Services; Additional pledge from N. Haack

M–91: Walking Tour and Guide

Walking Tour and Guide. The full-color guide and audio tour will include each relief map's history, geographic significance, and environment. Includes a comparison with present-day maps or aerial photography.

Donations of any amount over $100 will contribute to the guide research, production and web page. Donors will be recognized in the tour materials.

Status: $2200 goal

M–02: Geological Model of California

M-02 entire mapGeological Model of California , "from U.S. geological survey maps of 1932," Modeled by C. King, Prepared by Fred Wilhelm. Horizontal scale: 1 inch = 10 miles. Vertical scale: 1 inch = 2 miles. Date Made: 1939. Location: stairway landing between the 1st and 2nd floor.

Status: Completed


M–37: Glacier National Park and Vicinity

detail of M-37Glacier National Park and Vicinity. by Great Northern Railway Co. Vertical scale: 1 inch = 2640 feet. Horizontal scale: 1 inch = 5280 feet. Date Made: 1911. Location: stairway landing between the 2nd and 3rd floor.


detail of M-37Detail of M-37 restoration, showing plaster patching along the map bottom edge where significant damage had occurred.


Paul Coenen restoring M-37Paul Coenen performs restoration touch-up painting on the roads in the lower right corner of the M-37 map. Coenen was a 2nd year Master of Fine Arts student specializing in lithography, relief, woodcut and intaglio.


detail of M-37A detail of the unusual frame on M-37 that follows the terrain of the map.


Paul Coenen restoring M-37This relief map was created only 1 year after Glacier National park was established. The detail at top shows "Going-to-the-Sun" trail. With its extremely difficult but breathtaking terrain, the trail-to-auto road construction was started in 1910 but not finished until 1932. Read the Park's history at the National Park Service website. Coenen at work in the Cartography Lab at Science Hall restoring the Glacier National Park map.


M-37 mounting locationMounting frame in the location of M-37, in the stairwell between the 3rd and 2nd floors in Science Hall, showing the original ceramic brickwork colors.

Status: Completed


M–04: Grand Canyon of the Colorado and the Cliffs of Southern Utah

M-04 relief mapM-04 relief mapGrand Canyon of the Colorado and the Cliffs of Southern Utah, "modeled by Edwin E. Howell from maps of the United States, geological and geographical survey by J.W. Powell, revised by F.T. Thwaites and Fred Wilhelm in 1931 from a geological map of Arizona, 1924 and Utah, 1918," Horizontal scale: 1 inch = 2 miles. Vertical scale: 1 inch = 5,000 feet. Date Made: 1931 Location: 2nd floor.


M-04 detailThis map has structural damage as several hairline fractures running diagonally across the entire map. Along the fractures, the paint and plaster has chipped away. However, the map has not been varnished and retains much of its original color.

This detail of M-04, at left, shows a unique relief within relief inset comparing the Yosemite Valley to Niagara Falls. Unfortunately, the inset corner has been badly damaged and must be rebuilt.


M-04 detailDetail of the Colorado River Valley in the M-04 map showing the delicate colors of the geologic shading.


Status: Donation complete, from R. Woodward in memory of David Woodward

M–43: Henry Mountains, Utah

Henry Mountains, UtahHenry Mountains, Utah , "Department of the Interior U.S. geographical and geological survey of the Rocky Mountain region. J. W. Powell in charge, Modeled by C. K. Gilbert, Issued by Ward and Howell, Rochester, NY." Colored to show geological formations. Size: 5 ft. x 3 ft. 7in. Horizontal and vertical scale: 1 1/2 inches = 1 mile. Date Made: unknown [likely c. 1910-14]. Location: 2nd floor.

M-43 is a very early and significant model which is listed as Map No. 8 in a 1912 catalog of Edwin E. Howell's relief maps and models.

The catalog description reads: "By happy accident one of the most distinguished names that American science has known was bestowed on a mountain group of transcendent interest to the geologist. The Henry Mountains are of volcanic origin, but the lavas were injected all along the strata and cooled in bubble-shaped bodies called laccolites, which were afterwards exposed to view by erosion. There was no eruption, properly speaking, but irruption only, and the strata lying above the zone of irruption were bent up in arches or domes. The domes are numerous and in different ones every stage of the process of denudation is shown. This peculiar structure was discovered by Mr. G. K. Gilbert, who made a special study of the mountains in 1876, and has published a report on their geology (U.S. Survey of the Rocky Mountains Region). This model was made by him and besides showing the laccolites gives careful expression to the peculiar type of land sculpture which characterizes the Colorado Plateau region. It exhibits also in a striking and beautiful manner a monoclinal flexture and its influence on the topography of the country." (Howell's Relief Maps and Models, 1912. Page 8. Wash, D.C.: Hayward Pub. House. From Library of Congress Map Division collection.)

detail M-43Title block for M-43, showing the good condition of the upper half of the map. This map has an unusual combination of soft terrain boundaries and fine fluvial channels.


detail M-43The lower right-hand corner has a 2 sq. ft. area of severe paint abrasion. Some very fine text work is visible through the broken areas, but this area will require as much time as the entire top half.


detail M-43The lower left-hand corner of M-43 showing the missing piece of plaster along the edge. Fortunately, the area is not cracked into the rest of the features.


Status: Needs $1000

M–44: Stereogram of the Henry Mountains, Utah

M-44 entire mapStereogram of the Henry Mountains, Utah, "showing the form the country would have if the eroded portion to the top of the Cretaceous were restored," Modeled by C. K. Gilbert, Issued by Ward & Howell, Rochester, NY. Size: 5 ft. x 3 ft. 7 in. Horizontal and vertical scale: 1 1/2 inches = 1 mile. Date Made: unknown [likely c. 1911-1914].


detail of relief and damageM-44 is a very early and significant model which is listed as Map No. 9 in a 1912 catalog of Edwin E. Howell's relief maps and models.

The catalog description reads: "This is a companion to No. 8 [our M-43] and represents the same district of country as it would appear if all the eroded strata up to and including the Blue Gate Sandstone were restored to their original places. The country was displaced by the laccolites; and by the rains and rivers it was eroded. The Stereogram shows the result of the displacement separated from that of erosion. No. 8 [M–43] shows the net result of the displacement and erosion together, or the actual condition. This model is instructive and valuable illustration of that scientific method which selects from a great body of facts those of a certain kind and by combining them by themselves ascertains their laws." (Howell's Relief Maps and Models, 1912. Pages 8-9. Wash, D.C.: Hayward Publishing House. From Library of Congress Map Division collection.)

The condition of M-44 is poor, with the white areas shown in the details as eroded paint from the model. The map is damaged by graffiti, grime, fractures, and impacts.


Identification tag detailDetail of a property identification tag attached to the frames of the relief maps.


Status: Needs $1000

M–49: Henry Mountains and Vicinity

M-49 entire mapHenry Mountains and Vicinity. Utah. "Department of the Interior U.S. Geographical and Geological survey of the Rocky Mountain region. J. W. Powell in charge," modeled by C. K. Gilbert, Issued by Ward and Howell, Rochester , NY. Size: 3 ft. 6 in. x 3 ft. Horizontal and vertical scale: 1/2 inch = 1 mile. Date Made: unknown.


M-49 detailThe relief surface of this map is generally in good condition, but appears to have been painted thickly with shellac. The shellac is now discolored and will be difficult to remove, especially from crevices.

Structurally, the lower right corner, about 1 square inch, has been broken off. The entire plaster corner will have to be rebuilt and the relief estimated. The upper left corner also has a smaller fracture and missing piece.


M-49 detailThe second challenge to restoring this map will be the lettering. The lettering is a serifed antique style, much faded and sometimes missing, which will pose challenges to restoration.


Status: Needs $1000

M–47: Relief Map of Illinois

M-47 entire mapRelief Map of Illinois, "showing glacial geology, compiled by Lawrence Martin and F. T. Thwaites from surveys by Frank Leverett and from publications of U.S. geological survey and Illinois state geological survey, topography" By C. W. Rolfe & USGS. Horizontal scale: 1 inch = 5 miles Vertical scale: 1 inch = 1320 feet. Date Made : 1915.

This map's condition overall is sound, but it suffers from several deep punctures and some abrasions. The color of the map and the map key is badly obscured by grime.


M-47 title blockA detail of the map title block, showing the best color of the original map. Click to enlarge.


M-47 detailA detail of the worst puncture, with the wire frame underneath exposed.


M-47 frame and detailA detail of the bottom of the map, showing Cairo, Illinois. The entire bottom of the map suffers from deep abrasions such as these shown here.


Status: Donation by: S. and M. Bradford, B. Koepcke

M–36: The Malaspina Glacier with Mt. St. Elias and Yakutat Bay

M-36The Malaspina Glacier with Mt. St. Elias and Yakutat Bay, "based on maps and photographs by I. C. Russell, the Boundary Commission, and others, with some personal fieldwork, by Lawrence Martin, Department of Geology, University of Wisconsin," modeled by E. H. J. Lorenz. Vertical and horizontal scale: 1 inch = 1 1/2 miles. Date Made: 1909. Location: stairway between the 2nd and 3rd floors.


M-36 detailThe Malaspina Glacier map is perhaps the best loved of all the Science Hall relief maps. Although a full photo of the entire map is pending, the map is approximately 6 x 4 feet and is mounted in a large frame.


M-36 detailThis detail of M-36 shows a unique frame that is carved to follows the terrain on the plaster. Only M-37 has a similar frame; others frames are flat, un-carved "picture frames".


M-36 detailAlthough thousands of students have passed it, this map has remarkably little severe puncture and abrasion damage. However, the beautiful white of the mountains and glaciers, along with the crevices and lettering, is suffering from grime, hand prints, some splattered paint, and small scratches. Apparently, some cleaning was attempted earlier, as shown in the photo above.


M-36 detailM-36 detail Detail of the relief in M-36. Mountains are particularly difficult to clean, and the glacier crevices will pose a challenge.


M-36 detailM-36 detailRestorer Paul Coenen works on the Malaspina Glacier plaster relief map in February 2006.


Status: Completed, donation by L. Stice

M–51: Relief Map of Minneapolis, St. Paul and environs

M-51 entire mapRelief Map of Minneapolis, St. Paul and environs, "according to the latest data of the U.S. geological survey, War Department, and railroad and street railway maps," Made by E. H. J. Lorenz, Madison, WI. Horizontal scale: 1 inch = 5280 feet. Vertical scale: 1 inch = 528 feet. Date Made: unknown.


M-51 detailDetail of map showing Minneapolis features and damage to paint and plaster.


M-51 detailDetail of title block, center, showing damage by graffiti and grime.


Status: Needs $1000

M–38: Relief Map of North America

M-38 relief mapRelief Map of North America , modeled by Edwin E. Howell, copyright, The Macmillan Company. Horizontal scale: 1 inch = 120 miles. Vertical scale: 1:500,000. Date Made: 1899. Location: stairway between the 2nd and 3rd floors.


M-38 detailDetail of M-38, showing the relief along the western continental coast from Canada into the Yucatan peninsula.

Status: Donation complete, pledged from J. Mersey


M–40: Geological Model of the Uinta and Wasatch Mountains

M-40 detailGeological Model of the Uinta and Wasatch mountains, modeled by Edwin E. Howell. Horizontal scale: 1 inch = 4 miles. Vertical scale: 1 inch = 2 miles. Date Made: unknown. Location: stairway between the 2nd and 3rd floors.

At left top, detail of the M-40 showing the rich colors of the map key.


M-40 detailAt left bottom, detail of M-40 relief showing the extensive paint chipping that is typical across most of the map.


Below is a detail of a relief map frames such as M-40. The gold and black lettering along each frame side indicated the vertical placement of sea level when compared to the relief.


M-40 frame detail


Status: Donation complete, pledged from F. Alley

M–26: High Plateaus of Utah

M-26 detailHigh Plateaus of Utah , "Department of the Interior U.S. Geographical and Geological survey of the Rocky Mountain region. J. W. Powell in charge, modeled by Capt. C. E. Dutton". Vertical and horizontal scale: 1/2 inch = 1 mile. Date Made: unknown. Location: stairway landing between the 1st and 2nd floor.

M-26 is an early model which is listed as Map No. 12 in a 1912 catalog of Edwin E. Howell's relief maps and models. It was designed to accompany the other models of Utah and the Henry Mountains.

The catalog description reads: "This is another carefully modeled map of a specially interesting geological region. It lies directly north of the Grand Canyon [our M-04] and includes enough of the northern portion of that map to show the whole of the high plateaus. A comprehensive report on the geology of this region may be found in Capt. Dutton's report (U.S. Survey of the Rocky Mountain Region) and in the reports of G. K. Gilbert and Edwin E. Howell (U.S. Exploration West of the 100th Meridian). The region represented is mainly one of high plateaus, separated by valleys of erosion and faults, and the great principles of structure and erosion and the relation to which they bear to each other are remarkably well illustrated. The value of the map, in this respect, is greatly enhanced by the introduction of a portion of one of Basin Ranges of Mountains in the northwest corner. The contrast between the erosion of its upturned and contorted strata, and that of the comparatively horizontal beds of the plateaus, is very marked, and a study of the difference is very instructive." (Howell's Relief Maps and Models, 1912. Pages 8-9. Wash, D.C.: Hayward Publishing House. From Library of Congress Map Division collection.)


M-26 detailDetail of M-26 showing the relief of the region.


Status: Donation complete, Anonymous; In memory of Barbara Bartz Petchenik, 1939-1992

M–65: Glacial Geology of the Baraboo District-Wisconsin

M-65 Glacial Geology of the Baraboo District-Wisconsin, "topography from the U.S. Geological Survey, geology from the U.S. Geological Survey, Professional Paper 106 by Wm. C. Alden, 1918, and from unpublished surveys," modeled in 1906 at the Department of Geology at the University of Wisconsin. Prepared by Fred Wilhelm, 1937 from data furnished by F. T. Thwaites. Horizontal scale: 1 inch = 2640 feet. Vertical scale: 1 inch = 1320 feet. Date Made: 1936-37. Location: 2nd floor.

This map suffers from a coating of shellac that has obscured much of the color on the right half. It is structurally sound, and one of four in the collection made by UW cartographers and geologists.


M-65 detailDetail of the Baraboo map, showing the paper dots added to the map surface, likely by a past instructor using the map. The dots in the map key have numbers that correspond to dots on the entire map face (see full view above). Should the dots be removed, or some left as an indicator of how the maps were used?


M-65  detailDetail of M-65, showing the relief and glacial geology paint references and Devil's Lake area physical features. One of the added dots is pasted onto the lake surface.


Status: Pledge from R. Scharnke; Additional pledge by UW General Library Services

M–64: Geological Model of Yosemite Valley, California

M-64 relief mapGeological Model of Yosemite Valley, California , "showing glacial and post glacial deposits, from topographic and geological maps by F. E. Matthes, U.S. Geological Survey, 1930. Prepared by Fred Wilhelm. Horizontal and vertical scale: 1 inch = 1000 feet. Date Made: 1939. Location: 2nd floor.


M-64 detailThis map, made by UW geologists and cartographers, is one of the largest in the collection. It suffers from a heavy layer of cracking shellac, and from physical damage along the bottom third where chair backs impacted.


M-64 detailDetail of M-64 relief, showing geological color coding and very fine details of physical features.


M-64 detailDetail of the Yosemite Valley map, showing the river floor relief and the unusual attention to color in this map.


M-64 detailDetail of M-64 showing some typical impact damage that occurs all along the map bottom. Many of these impacts erased fine paint and plaster detail.


Status: Completed and Installed in Robinson Map Library Permanent Exhibit

M–33: Relief Map of the Chattanooga District

M-33 overviewRelief Map of the Chattanooga District, "U.S. Geological Survey, J. W. Powell, director, Geology by C. Willard Hayes, modeled by Edwin E. Howell, Washington, D.C." Horizontal scale: 1/2 inch = 1 mile, Vertical scale: 1 inch = 1 mile, Date Made: 1894, Location: stairway between the 2nd and 3rd floors.


detail of M-33Detail of the relief in M-33. The map originally came in two versions: topographic and geologic, which we have.

The Howell catalog from 1912 lists Chattanooga District as No. 34, but the image in the catalog is oriented with West at the top whereas the relief map actually has North at the top.


Howell 1912 catalog page 17 Chattanooga District mapThe map is described as : "This map includes portions of Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama, with Chattanooga about in the center. On the west we have a potion of the Cumberland Plateau; then to the east the great anticlinal (Sequatchie) valley followed by the synclinal mountains--Sand, Lookout and Walden Ridge, cut through by the Tennessee River; next the great valley of East Tennessee with its multitude of parallel ridges of steeply inclined strata; and on the extreme east a portion of the great Smoky Mountains gives us another marked type of topography. A half-tone reproduction of this model was used to illustrate the paper on Geomorphology by Messrs. Hayes and Campbell in the National Geographic Magazine, May 1894. This is a very useful model for the teacher of Geology and Physical Geography." (Howell's Relief Maps and Models, 1912. Page 17. Wash, D.C.: Hayward Publishing House. From Library of Congress Map Division collection.)

See Howell catalog page 17 as a .pdf file.


M-33 before and afterComparison of M-33 Chattanooga District, before restoration, at left, and after restoration, at right.


Status: Completed

M–42: Relief Map of Eurasia

M-42 EurasiaRelief Map of Eurasia, "Modeled by Edwin E. Howell, Washington D.C., Copyright, The Macmillan Company" Horizontal scale: 1:750,000 or 1 inch = 120 miles, Vertical scale: 1:500,000 or 15:1. Date Made: 1899. Location: stairway between the 2nd and 3rd floors.

At left, Eurasia under restoration during winter 2005.

Eurasia was one in a set of five Howell's relief models of the continents which were all prepared to the same scale for comparison. Eurasia was No. 59 in the 1912 Howell catalog of relief maps and originally sold for $50.

All the continent models had the surrounding ocean bottom in relief except for Australia, for which the Howell catalog explained that "sufficient data was not obtainable."

The Department also has the continent models for Africa (M-45), North America (M-38), and South America (M-46).


M-42 detailDetail of Eurasia showing the difference before and after cleaning.


M-42 viewAt left Kristof Wickman restores M-42 in the Cartography Lab in Science Hall. To read more about the restoration process, see MadGeogNews 65.


Status: Completed

M–45: Relief Map of Africa

Exhibit will feature the Yosemite relief map M-64 in a special display table, including educational materials about cartography, Yosemite regional geology, wilderness-human environmental interactions, and commentary by Dr. Tom Vale, a writer and researcher of the Yosemite region.

Status: Completed

M–46: Relief Map of South America

Exhibit will feature the Yosemite relief map M-64 in a special display table, including educational materials about cartography, Yosemite regional geology, wilderness-human environmental interactions, and commentary by Dr. Tom Vale, a writer and researcher of the Yosemite region.

Status: Completed

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