The Rocky Mountain Map Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to the study and appreciation of maps and other items of cartographic interest. The Society was formed in 1991 and is based in Denver, Colorado.

Most meetings are held on Tuesday evenings at the Denver Public Library, 5th Floor, Gates Room, at 5:30 PM.

March 21, 2017 – Professor John Kessell:
"Whither the Waters: Mapping the Great Basin
from Bernardo de Miera to John C. Fremont"

Kessell Photo

Prof. John Kessell
5:30 PM, Gates Room
Fifth Floor
Denver Public Library

Free & open to the Community


A Professor Emeritus of History at University of New Mexico, John Kessell founded the Vargas Project, something of a Southwestern Adams Papers to publish the Journals of don Diego de Vargas, New Mexico’s refounding father in the late seventeenth century (6 vols., UNM Press, 1989-2002). His most recent book is Miera y Pacheco: A Renaissance Spaniard in Eighteenth-Century New Mexico (U. of Oklahoma Press, 2013). He lives near Durango within sight of a Miera campsite dating from August 1776.

“When first asked what influence Miera's famed 1778 map of the Dominguez-Escalante expedition had on subsequent cartography of the region, I hadn't a clue. A great deal, it turns out, resulting especially from Miera's faulty hydrography. The likes of Humboldt, Pike, and Tanner, all contributed to the myth: just get yourself to the Great Salt Lake, choose your river, and paddle to California. Such a delusion!”

Upcoming Meetings -- Save the dates!

Map Month: Maps as Art
May 2, 9, 16 & 23, 2017
Tuesdays at 5:30 PM
Denver Public Library
Conference Room B2

Guest Speakers:
May 2: Kate Stuart
May 9: Marcia Yonemoto and Tianlong Jiao
May 16: Susan Schulten
May 23: John Roman


Announcements by RMMS Members

Map Course
Lorraine Sherry has organized the third biennial series of guest lectures and exhibits by RMMS Members at The Academy for Lifelong Learning:
"The Power of Maps -- Exploring the Magic of Maps"
Dates: Thursday afternoons, February 23 to March 23, 2017 at 1:30-3:00 PM
Location: Calvary Baptist Church, 6500 East Girard Avenue, Denver CO 80224
Registration: The Academy for Lifelong Learning

Map Month - May 2017
Plans are taking shape for RMMS' annual "Map Month" in partnership with Denver Public Library. The focus will be on Maps as Art. Meetings will take place in the B2 conference room at Denver Public Library on Tuesday evenings at 5:30 PM during the month of May, 2017. To increase your enjoyment of Map Month, the Western History Department of the Denver Public Library will have an exhibit of original and extraordinary maps on the 5th floor, which illustrate the power of art used in maps.

  • May 2: Kate Stuart, Curator of Berger Collection at Denver Art Museum - "Maps in Paintings."
  • May 9: Marcia Yonemoto, Associate Professor at CU Boulder - "Maps as Art and Maps as Information."
    Tianlong Jiao, Curator of Asian Art at Denver Art Museum - "The Selden Map and Ming China's Martitime World."
  • May 16: Susan Schulten, Professor of History and Chair of the History Department at University of Denver - "Art and Cartography."
  • May 23: John Roman, Cartographic illustrator and author of The Art of Illustrated Maps - "The Crossroads of Cartography and Cartooning."

Map Exhibit at CU-Boulder
Concurrent with RMMS' "Map Month," an exhibit, Native American Geographies, will feature maps from CU's collection and works on paper by Melanie Yazzie from the Boulder Department of Art and Art History.
Dates: May 1 - July 7, 2017
Location: Jerry Crail Johnson Earth Sciences and Map Library, Benson Earth Sciences Building, 2200 Colorado Avenue, Boulder
Details [TBD]

International Conference
Chet Van Duzer will be co-organizing an international conference next year with Lauren Beck:
"Canada before Confederation: Early Exploration and Mapping"
Dates: November 13-14, 2017
Location: Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Description: The conference foregrounds the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Confederation of Canada in 1867 with a look at the early exploration and mapping of the territory that now forms the country.
For further information, contact Lauren Beck,, or Chet Van Duzer,

Save the dates!
RMMS has been invited to chair the Society for the History of Discoveries (SHD) conference in Denver on September 20-22, 2018. The SHD conference formally opens Thursday evening with a reception, followed by SHD's program on Friday and Saturday morning. Stay tuned for further details.

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Lorraine Sherry, Secretary/Webmaster