The Norman B. Leventhal Map Center Explorer Award Dinner

The Norman B. Leventhal Map Center Explorer Award Dinner was held on Friday, February 1st, for more than 300 guests at the Boston Public Library’s historic McKim Building in Copley Square. Accepting the 2013 Explorer Medal from Map Center founder Norman Leventhal, during a rousing standing ovation, was Mayor Tom Menino. The occasion marked one of the Mayor’s first public appearances since his recent hospitalization.

Photos © 2013 Roger Farrington

The award, created in 2011 to “foster a spirit of individual enterprise, recognizing pioneering projects that demonstrate innovative and original thought and contribute to the betterment of humankind,” was first presented to documentary filmmaker Ken Burns. Co-chaired by Alan Leventhal of Beacon Capital Partners  (son of Norman Leventhal), and David Long of Liberty Mutual Insurance, the benefit dinner raised $1 million for education programs, teacher training, curriculum guides, and lesson plans at the Map Center.

Other attendees included; BPL president Amy Ryan, Boston Schools superintendent Carol Johnson, WGBH president and CEO Jon Abbott, BU president Bob Brown, MIT president Rafael Reif, former MIT president Susan Hockfield, Fidelity co-president Ron O’Hanley, BPL Board chair Jeff Rudman, JP Morgan managing partner Marc White, MFA Board president Sandra Moose, BRA director Peter Meade, Friends of the Public Garden’s Henry Lee, developer Robert Beal, and Map Center Board chair Bob Melzer.

The Norman B. Leventhal Map Center was created in 2004 as a public-private partnership between the Boston Public Library and Norman B. Leventhal. The goal of the partnership was to create broad public access to the library’s extraordinary collection of 200,000 maps and 5,000 atlases dating from the 15th century to the present. The collection is ranked among the top ten in the United States. In 2011 the Leventhal Map Center Gallery and Learning Center opened to the public on the first floor of the library’s McKim Building in Copley Square. Featuring changing exhibitions, a Kids Map Club, and a research reading room, over 72,000 have visited the new space.