School of Architecture College of Design

Story Maps


Story Maps by Molly Dalsin

In an architecture course that addresses global and cultural history, it is necessary to understand the complexities and relationships between local cultures and traditions, and the global forces of colonialism, domination, and oppression.  A typical history course may require readings and writing papers: digesting information in a verbal way.  

In Daniela Sandler’s course Architecture: Global and Cultural History we utilized verbal modes, but also visual and interactive modes by using a mapping tool that allowed us to re-represent our course research papers in a manner more conducive to the visual nature of architecture students.

As seen in the images, these “Story Maps” relate written information with maps, images, and videos in a curated manner. Being visual learners, we intuitively see more nuances within images and the tracking of movements across maps than we do reading a paragraph.  Even without the written explanation, I think it is possible to follow the relationships of the colonial movements across the globe, making “Story Maps” an interesting new tool to both understand a complex topic and to present it to others.



Links to the final Story Maps for Architecture: Global and Cultural History


Spanish Colonialism


Global Baroque


Portuguese Colonialism


British Imperialism


If you’re interested in learning more about Story Maps, check it out on the ArcGis website It’s free for UMN students. All you need to do is register with ArcGis.  You can also contact U-Spatial, a UMN group committed to supporting spatial research (they helped us learn to tool and troubleshoot any issues).




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