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Bush Pilot

Who moved Alaska? Remembering an Alaska-centric world map.

  • Author: Colleen Mondor
  • Updated: June 30, 2016
  • Published February 20, 2013

As part of the ongoing Arctic Flight exhibit, the Anchorage Museum is hosting a series of aviation lectures. On Thursday, the second lecture of the series will explore how "aviation and WWII put Alaska at the center of the world."

University of Alaska Fairbanks History professor Terrence Cole is the keynote speaker. Here's the museum's pitch:

Rapid advances in civil and military aviation in the 1930s and the rise of air power spawned a wave of articles, books and maps calling for development of an entirely new discipline of education for the "air age." For a short time this torrent of cartographic reform caused a fundamental reordering of popular American cartography based on the supposed superiority of polar projections, such as the one displayed on the flag of the United Nations. Nevertheless this educational campaign by government officials, cartographers, airlines, ad agencies and schools portraying the world as a sphere, not a flat rectangle, never broke the hold of the Mercator or other east-west projections on the public mind. As a result the prevailing image of Alaska is generally at the far edge of the earth -- if not in a box below California -- but once there was a time, albeit briefly, when it was the center of the world.

The lecture is sponsored by the Cook Inlet Historical Society. It's free and open to the public, with snack service afterward.

Read all about it at the Anchorage Museum website or in the Alaska Dispatch calendar.

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