Exploring the Early Americas features selections from the more than 3,000 rare maps, documents, paintings, prints, and artifacts that make up the Jay I. Kislak Collection at the Library of Congress. This ongoing exhibition has three major themes: “Pre-Contact America;” “Explorations and Encounters;” and “Aftermath of the Encounter.” Like the Jay I. Kislak Collection itself, the exhibition provides glimpses into the complex and fascinating past of the Americas. It provides insight into indigenous cultures, the drama of the encounters between Native American and European explorers and settlers, and the pivotal changes caused by the meeting of the American and European worlds. The last theme explores the profound growth of knowledge, particularly in natural history and geography, resulting from the encounters. This section includes two extraordinary maps by Martin Waldseemüller created in 1507 and 1516, which depict a world enlarged by the presence of the Western Hemisphere.
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