Inside the Collections Care Project: A globe that fits in your pocket

Sep 18, 2014

Historic New England’s Collections Care Project is well past the halfway point of moving more than 20,000 objects that will be relocated while we improve our collections storage facility. Our staff team has begun to encounter larger objects of different material types, such as leather wallets and purses, wooden Shaker boxes, and historic school supplies. 

This week we have chosen to highlight Newton’s New and Improved Terrestrial Pocket Globe. It is a fascinating small globe protected by a wooden sharkskin-covered case. The interior surface of the case shows the signs of the zodiac as you would see them looking up at the night sky. The three-inch globe within shows the map of the world as it was in 1817, made by renowned cartographer John Newton.

It is unclear what purpose these globes served, other than portability. Owning one may have been a mark of social status, or it could simply have been used for educational purposes.

Check out the pocket globe’s Collections Access page to zoom in on high-res images.

Check back again next week for another exciting find. Support the preservation of Historic New England’s one-of-a-kind collection with a gift to the Collections and Conservation Fund.