The Museum of Surveying, in Lansing, Michigan, is pleased to announce the opening of two new exhibits on October 7. This year we welcome Measuring a Nation: A Surveying Timeline and Surveying the States: Abe Lincoln, Deputy Surveyor of Sangamon County to our foyer gallery. These two exciting exhibits combine fascinating stories about famous surveyors with the innovative tools that they used to measure our nation.
Land surveying depends upon the knowledge of history. Our profession looks to the documents and working methods of the past to understand our present geography. Visitors of all levels of experience will enjoy Measuring a Nation. When they enter the Museum of Surveying’s foyer, the exhibit instantly draws them into the heritage of surveying. Measuring a Nation focuses on the challenges of surveying in North America and the tools that helped surveyors measure and map it effectively. A compass, solar compass, transit, and total station stand with the maps that surveyors made using them. Nonprofessionals will understand the hardships and technical challenges that land surveyors have faced. Professionals will be amazed again at the detail, accuracy, and beauty of plats drawn by famous surveyors like William Austin Burt.
In Measuring a Nation, the Museum of Surveying has made a conscious effort to create an exhibit that will appeal to a wide range of skill levels and interests. Children will be able to handle a real Gunter’s chain and turn the sight vanes of a model compass. Those with a deeper knowledge of the profession and its technology can use the exhibit catalogue to learn technical details about the instruments on display.
At the end of the timeline, visitors will approach the museum’s new revolving exhibit: Surveying the States. Surveying the States has grown from an exciting partnership with state surveying societies across the country. State societies are invited to design and sponsor an exhibit about land measurement in their state. The current display is sponsored by the Illinois Professional Land Surveyors Association and tells the story of Abe Lincoln’s time as Deputy Surveyor of Sangamon County through the drawings of Lloyd Ostendorf. Ostendorf was a noted Lincoln scholar and his delicate pen and ink drawings bring Lincoln’s surveying career to life. Combined with a copy of Lincoln’s first plat and the replica of the model used to craft the full-sized commemorative Lincoln surveyor statue in Illinois, our first Surveying the States exhibit has something for everyone.
So stop in and visit the Museum of Surveying any time you are in Lansing. We look forward to sharing our surveying heritage with you.