I have seen a few maps pop up lately as memes to help add some lightness of our current living situations. Map-making has been around for a long time, to help us make sense of the world around us and help us find our way.
Bonner County can claim association with one of the early map makers of the Pacific Northwest, David Thompson. Thompson made maps and explored the region around Bonner County in the early 1800's as an employee of The Northwest Company. You can read about him in this Sandpoint Magazine article here. Now that the Museum is open, you can visit the The Early Years exhibit on the upper floor and learn more about David Thompson and the fur trade established during his time in the region.
Maps are interesting and beautiful, and we use them for so many different purposes. Some of my favorite maps are the ones of fictitious places found in books. I love resisting the urge to look at the map until after I am well into the book and have some context for the places referenced. Maps are often used as parts of games and video games. Think about the recent places you have seen maps other than the Google map on your phone. Speaking of Google, check out how they use a map to tell a story here.
Now we have seen maps as jokes, maps for navigation, and maps to tell a story. It is time to create your own map. Start by studying some different styles of maps an identity the significant features. I imagine it would have taken a special skill to be able to create a map without the technology we have today. Read about the steps that early mapmakers would follow and try some of them out. Next, pull out your sketchbook and choose something to map. A place you have visited, your neighborhood, maybe even a map of your bedroom. Get creative and do Bonner County as Middle-earth (if you are in the mood for a mash-up). Take it seriously or make it a meme! Regardless of the kind of map you make, think about David Thompson exploring our region and making one of the first published maps of the area. Join the tradition of local cartographers. Share your creations #athomewithBCHS.
Now that the weather is getting nicer and walking through town seems like an option. It is a great time to consider going on a historic walking tour of Sandpoint. The walking tour can be downloaded to your phone to make navigation easy. Each location has a description of the building and why it is historically significant. There is both a shorter downtown version that is centered on the shopping district and a longer version that takes you farther into the historic neighborhoods. A great way to get fresh air and exercise too. You could hop on a bike or rent a surrey (available at Murphy's) to bike around from location to location.
Here are some suggestions for adding some extra fun:
Share your sketches, photos, and experiences of the tour with us on social media #athomewithBCHS
I have always struggled with coming up with gifts for my mom on Mother's Day. I completely adore her, but I never know what to get her to show that. Luckily, she is gracious and usually fine with a card or a hug. Maybe this year, I will give her the greatest gift...
In college I had an assignment to conduct a life history interview of someone who inspired me. I picked my favorite teacher in high school. I spent three hours with her (and an old-school iPod) just listening to story upon story of her experience growing up in Germany during WWII. I was completely blown away by how interesting someone’s life’s story could be. After that assignment I realized I could have this great moment of connection and learning with anyone who would agree to sit down to be interviewed. I started with my Grandma, who had been diagnosed with cancer, and it completely shifted my relationship with her. She had always been the mythical creature of a Grandparent- kind, loving, fun- but lacking a backstory (I realized, I had never asked). During the interview I had the chance to pose questions about her childhood, old friends, her successes and failures, her marriage, and her children (including my mom). I got let into secrets I would have never known. I think she got to get a few things off her shoulders that she may not have imagined sharing. That day, our relationship changed--it deepened. I realized I had never taken time to really see her outside of her role as Grandma, until then. I am so glad I had those hours with her, and heard all those stories before she passed away the next year. During the whole interview my Grandpa kept finding excuses to shuffle by to stick his head in the room. I'm not sure if he was desperate to hear what she was saying or a little envious that she was getting the spotlight (later he asked when he would get his turn). It was in that moment that I discovered "the greatest gift". Really sitting with someone, asking, and listening to them is the greatest gift. It is a gift for them and a gift for yourself.
This year seems like the year. We are all spending more time at home, breaking old patterns, seeing more of each other. Maybe it's the year you give your Mom or loved one an oral history interview for Mother's Day.
Here are some links to help you prepare: