Mapparium: The World’s Only Inside-Out Globe

The Mapparium at Mary Baker Eddy Library in Boston, Massachusetts, is a huge, 30 foot tall globe of bronze and glass that has no parallel anywhere else on earth, not because of its size —there are much larger globes elsewhere— but because of the way the map of the world is presented.

At the Mapparium, the earth’s surface has been turned inside-out, or rather outside-in. Viewers walk into the glass globe via an elevated bridge, that goes right through the globe, and crane their necks to see North America and Europe. The map of the world has been projected on the inside surface of the globe and illuminated by bright lights placed outside. Because the map projection is on the inside concave surface of the sphere rather than on the outside, every part of the globe faces the observer making it possible to view the entire planet from pole to pole with non of the distortion in area and distance that occurs on a regular globe or a on a flat map.