Do you have a globe somewhere in your house, maybe in the garage or attic? Chances are good you haven’t looked at it lately. Globes can be fascinating, and they have a colorful history, but many people are now using their creativity to find ways of re-purposing globes. Working on these arts and crafts projects can be enjoyable for the whole family ― and a real bonding experience as well.
Globes Go Way Back
For thousands of years, humans have made globes. Yes, people imagined a round Earth long before Christopher Columbus was born. In fact, according to the ancient Greek historian Strabo ― how’s that for a cool name? ― the famous scholar Crates of Mallos owned a globe with a diameter of 10 feet.
One of the oldest globes that’s still around today dates back to 1492. Crafted in Portugal by a German geographer named Martin Behaim, this globe shows the locations of numerous marketplaces and lists international rules for buying and selling. It’s like an early form of Yelp.
The Golden Age of the Globe
Between 1500 and 1800, members of various professions used globes, including geographers, historians, sailors and astronomers. Artists worked hard to create attractive globes for wealthy merchants and world leaders. For example, in the late 1600s, a Franciscan monk named Vincenzo Coronelli set up studios for making maps and globes. One was in Paris, and another was inside the Venice convent where he lived. Coronelli’s team crafted elaborate globes with gorgeous hues and engravings.
During the 1500s and 1600s, when you bought a globe, you’d sometimes get a celestial globe with it. The celestial version would give you information about constellations and other heavenly bodies.
Also worth mentioning is the British geographer Joseph Moxon who, in 1673, invented the tiny but charming pocket globe that was most likely a status symbol for the wealthy.
Globes in a Changing World
As centuries went by, explorers continued to chart new lands, and globes became much more accurate. Some inaccuracies from long-ago can be amusing to think about now. For example, in 2012, an antiques enthusiast from Austria purchased a globe from 1504 at the London Map Fair. It’s made from an ostrich egg, and it portrays North America as a bunch of islands.
Globe usage has also changed over time. For instance, during the 1800s, outdoor lighting became widespread. As a result, people no longer needed globes to figure out how much daylight they’d have as they traveled around. And in the 1940s, improved radio navigation systems started to replace globe-based navigation techniques.
The 1800s saw the arrival of globes for children. In addition, globes began showing up in schools. Then, in the 1900s, globes were mass-produced, and they became commonplace in homes.
Seeing Globes in a Whole New Light
Of course, in today’s world, you can access super-detailed digital maps wherever you are. But old-fashioned globes can do more than gather dust in your office or take up storage space. They’re ideal for kids’ arts and crafts.
Here are just a few fun projects you and your children can take on with an old globe:
• Turn it into a clock.
• Slice it in half and make the halves into bowls for storing small items.
• Fashion an unusual lighting fixture.
• Create a spherical masterpiece by gluing white paper to the globe’s surface and using art supplies to decorate it.
• Build a rotating scrapbook or photo album on display by covering the globe with photos or pictures cut from magazines. These scrapbooks have become popular among adults, but kids often like making them too.
For more inspiration, you can search Pinterest; the social bookmarking site is bursting with nifty ideas. Or, to really emphasize the importance of creativity for kids, you could ask your children to come up with their own suggestions.
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