Teenager finds mistake in ancient map


During a visit to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, Benjamin Lerman Coady, 13, noticed an error in a map of the Byzantine Empire in the 6th century. “If you have a question, always ask it,” he said. “Always take chances.” (Mark Mirko/HARTFORD COURANT)
May 11, 2012

A Connecticut teenager says workers at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York didn’t believe him when he pointed out a mistake in a map on display showing the Byzantine Empire in the 6th century.

But 13-year-old Benjamin Lerman Coady of West Hartford knew he was right. The seventh-grader had just studied the empire in school before going to the museum last summer.

When Benjamin told a museum guide about the mistake, he wasn’t taken seriously. “The front desk didn’t believe me,” he said, explaining that he never expected to hear back from the museum. “I’m only a kid.”

Museum officials have admitted that Benjamin was right, the Hartford Courant newspaper reported. The map was supposed to show the empire at its largest, but Spain and parts of Africa were missing — just as Benjamin had said.

Museum officials invited him back and gave him a sneak preview of a new exhibit.

The museum’s still working on fixing its map error.

And what did Benjamin learn from the whole experience?

“If you have a question, always ask it,” he said. “Always take chances.”

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