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Scenic images from the field

Smithsonian Folklife Festival 2011

Peace Corps Volunteer Spotlight: Barbara Jo White

Country of Service: Dominican Republic
Title: Environment Volunteer
Time in Country: 1988–1990

During her Peace Corps service, Barbara Jo developed the World Map Project, using the grid method to make her first world map. Barbara Jo initially utilized the Mercator projection method that makes countries further from the equator appear larger. She pasted pages together to devise a crude map until she was able to trace a National Geographic map. A native of Cullowhee, N.C., Barbara Jo began teaching other Volunteers to paint the maps. "A Volunteer from a neighboring area would come to one and lead the next—kind of a domino effect," she says. She wrote a manual outlining how to trace, label, and grid a world map. Maps average 6–by–12 feet, but have been produced as large as 15–by–30.

Such enthusiasm for the project continues today due to its simplicity and durability.

"Because few rural schools have maps and many students leave school in their teens, some children never see a world map or have a concept of the world. The only way many schools can get and keep a map is to have it painted on a wall," The idea has launched new versions of maps, varying in language and style.

Smithsonian Folklife Festival: Barbara Jo will instruct Festival participants how to complete a world map, explaining the step–by–step instructions for how to plan, draw, and color a world map, which she first produced as part of the World Map Project as a Peace Corps Volunteer in 1988.

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Last updated Nov 20 2013