Welcome to the Iconography Project!
You can see drawings and paintings that show what the city of Philadelphia looked like hundreds of years ago.
To get back to this page from another one, just click the (image)
Definitions of some words you might not know...(iconography, panorama, ...)
Main Line Atlas
Baxter and Dreer Panos
A list of historic sites that are open to the public, organized by county, with links to its web site, if available. (/visits.html)
Links to other web sites about local history
Links to area libraries, historic societies, and other repositories from which we have gathered information. (/repos.html)
Projects--do your own image, your own illustrated journal, research a site with pictures, describe what life would have been like in a place shown in an image
Project 1: Comparing Past and Present
- Pick a picture that you like from this web site. Be sure to look at the title to see what the picture is of, and what street it is on.
- If you can, print out the picture so you can carry it with you.
- Find a recent street map of Philadelphia, and find where your building is.
- Have an adult take you there. You should bring:
- the picture you printed
- a clip board or something hard to write on
- paper to draw on
- pencils, pens, crayons, paints...whatever you like to draw with
- Make your own picture of the building! It probably looks pretty different today than it did one or two hundred years ago. Think about what the artist put in the picture when he first drew it--are there other buildings? Trees? The street? People? What do you think is important to show in your picture? Imagine someone looking at what you have drawn one hundred years from now. What would they be interested in knowing about how things looked today?
- Compare your drawing to the old one. What differences do you notice? Why do you think it has changed? What seems to be the same about them?
- You might want to narrow down your students' choice of image, either by image type, collection, or location.
- Images of a single building (examples...) will be more manageable for younger students. The Birch, Wild, or Child views include a number of single-subject illustrations with a nicely limited context (a few pedestrians and neighboring buildings).
- Commercial Panoramas (Wild, Child, etc.) lend themselves to more complex individual projects, or to a team project. On a team, students might pick a block to work on, and divide it up so that each student is responsible for 1 or 2 buildings. They can then attach the drawings to make a complete block.
- If a field trip is not feasable, another option is to have the students look at examples of panoramas here, and then try drawing their own blocks at home, rather than voyaging all over the city. This is a good exercise in terms of observation, drawing, and descriptive skills. Back in the classroom, students could talk about how they decided what to include in their drawings, how the drawings are different or the same as the historic ones they have seen here, why someone might want to record what a block looks like at a given point in time, etc.