In celebration of its 50th anniversary, Semester at Sea had the opportunity to work with Rick Britton, a Virginia-based and world-renowned historian, author, and cartographer, to design an exclusive, hand-drawn world map that includes all ports visited by Semester at Sea since 1963 as well as the program’s five primary ships and other elements relevant to the program.
Britton began his career as an antique map enthusiast, and today hand illustrates his maps in order to captivate the true essence of history within his works, employing techniques used by 18th and 19th century cartographers. Britton’s collection of works includes a series of beautifully illustrated maps of multiple American Civil War battles, amongst several other historically significant geographical landmarks. He is also the official cartographer for the Papers of George Washington at the University of Virginia, as well as the Papers of Thomas Jefferson at Monticello.
Aside from his career in cartography, Britton is an award winning historical journalist. Britton has dedicated much of his time to studying the life of Thomas Jefferson and has compiled his collection of essays into his work titled Jefferson: A Monticello Sampler.
The 50th anniversary map project came about when Julie Benner, director of marketing communications for Semester at Sea, read an article about Britton in the Daily Progress. “I was in the process of building our 50th anniversary online store and it occurred to me after reading the article that a hand-illustrated world map would be the most unique item we could offer,” said Benner. “I did not expect a renowned artist like Rick Britton to accept what could be considered to him a ‘small’ project, but he was in the white pages so I called and proposed the idea. He was extremely enthusiastic from the very first conversation we had.”
Julie, Rick, and Andrew Centofante, director of brand strategy and integrated media for Semester at Sea, had several working sessions to determine the appropriate elements and style for the map. Once the planning was complete, Rick was off to the drawing board to create what is now a masterpiece and unique keepsake that can be treasured by all who have sailed on Semester at Sea.
A limited quantity of Britton’s hand-illustrated Semester at Sea maps are still available on Semester at Sea’s 50th anniversary online store. Purchase your copy by Sunday, and receive 20% off when using promo code: 50thmap