Maps Exhibition Development

Humber Museums Partnership - Maps Exhibition Development

About the project

Planning is underway for our next temporary exhibition at North Lincolnshire Museum. The exhibition will display maps from the museum’s collections and show visitors the different ways maps have been used and what we can learn from them.

The first stage in the development of this exhibition is to assess what kinds of maps the museum holds to establish what stories we can tell in the exhibition. I have been carrying out an audit of our map collection to work out what categories of maps the museum has for display.

The first step is to create a list of maps and other relevant objects from our collections database. I then find these objects, take photographs, and make sure the list is up to date and has the correct information.

Here is a taster of what I have found so far:

Estate Maps

These are maps commissioned by landowners to show their extensive estates. These maps could be used for administrative and planning purposes but are also a demonstration of ownership and allow landowners show off their estates. These maps often depict the land after the common fields were enclosed and show a stark change in field boundaries and land use when compared with pre-enclosure plans.


Plans of the estate owned by Sir Robert Sheffield from 1869.

Drainage Maps

The drainage of the land is an important chapter in the history of North Lincolnshire and the museum hold maps and plans that chart this process. Drainage dramatically changed the landscape and its use which can be clearly seen in maps of the area.

Map of proposed sewer works in Burringham District, 1877

Ordnance Survey Maps

The museum holds a large collection of Ordnance Survey maps of North Lincolnshire and surrounding areas dating from the 19th and 20th Centuries. Some of these have been collected as maps in themselves whereas others have been used to record and display information. For example, the museum has a large number of OS maps that have been used to mark the location of archaeological finds.

Ordnance Survey Map showing Broughton area, 1907

Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 map showing Winterton and Appleby area, 1953.

Transport Maps

Maps related to transport take many forms. Some are large scale, detailed maps that show the course of railway lines and roads. On the other hand, the museum holds transport leaflets for local bus and ferry services which include a route map. Many transport maps of this type take design inspiration from the iconic London Underground Map. They identify the routes by using different colours and are representative of the routes rather than an accurate mapping of the landscape.

Lincolnshire Road Car map showing area served by the company, 1969.

Scunthorpe shuttle route map, 2007.

Planning Maps

Scunthorpe as a town grew and developed quickly in response to the booming steel industry. As a result, the museum holds a large collection of maps used in planning this development. These include maps planning new housing estates, new roads and dividing the town into zones for specific types of development.

Map marked with proposed boundaries of the New Urban District Council of Frodingham, 1890s

Scunthorpe Borough Council town planning scheme map, 1937.

Exhibition planning will continue, so we will keep you updated.