July 13, 2011

Charting a Story: Martha Stewart's Map Collection

Last Friday, I was in Bar Harbor, Maine, at the opening of “Charting a Story: Martha Stewart’s Map Collection,” on exhibition through July 23rd at College of the Atlantic’s Ethel H. Blum Gallery. You may recall a story I wrote in my magazine, Living, back in 2007 about these maps.  When I bought Skylands, my home in Maine, on Mount Desert Island, about fourteen years ago, I wanted to educate myself about the history, geography, and topography of this idyllic area.  I began to immerse myself in the history of the region, reading the many books on the area – nonfiction and fiction – that I discovered at island booksellers, and studying many maps on display in antiques shops and hiking shops.  When I realized how much I was learning from these maps, I began collecting them in earnest and wanted to frame and hang them for all of my guests to peruse.  Following a recommendation, I found Ahlblad’s Frame Shop in Bar Harbor, owned by Raymond Strout, a gregarious and talkative man and quite a collector, himself.  Over the years, Raymond has done an excellent job framing my maps and I was very honored when Rebecca Woods, the Blum Gallery’s summer director, approached me about creating an exhibit of the collection.  In all, 30 pieces are on display, about half of what I own.