Digital Project: Mapping DC Historic Houses

For this digital project I have created a collection using HistoryPin of historic houses in the DC area. The collection currently has ten historic houses pinned, selected from among the houses affiliated with the Historic House Museum Consortium of Washington DC. I do not yet know if I plan to add any more houses to the collection, but I hope to expand on categorizing the houses already pinned further, so that certain trends can be seen with the historic houses preserved in the city. With this tool I can create a virtual tour of some of the historic houses in the city and provide users with further access to information on the locations.

The descriptions I have provided for the pins are meant to serve two purposes for this virtual tour. The first is to provide some background about the location. Who lived there? What transpired there? Basically provide some brief information on why this building has been preserved to function as a museum to this day. The second purpose is to show how the house has changed ownership over its years of existence to see who has run its operations and who currently runs its operations. The purpose of this is to allow users to see and understand who has kept up the preservation of the building, compiled the collections there, and allow users to see what sort of motivation certain organizations might have had for maintaining the building and its contents. I also hope that people might use this tool to differentiate between how a historic house owned and operated by the federal government functions, versus how one owned by a private organization functions. I wanted to peel back the curtain to look at not just the history of the hoes, but the history of its preservation and ownership.

With this map I think those who would be interested in looking will find a resource for locating even more history in the city than the commonly known museums on the mall and be able to view museums that have set the goal of depicting what life was like for their communities at the time that the houses were built. Users will also be able to learn more about how these houses operate, and the historical societies responsible for their upkeep and the goals they have for the houses.

The primary challenge that I am facing is how to now take this collection I have compiled and either re-categorize it to provide additional information and trends in operations of these houses that may prove useful to users looking for a specific experience, or reorganize the houses into a more concise tour or groups of tours so that these houses could be experienced together. Though some of these houses are grouped together, some are quite a distance away.

Civil Rights Assassinations and Murders – Project Update

Hey everyone! I hope you all are doing well!

Originally, my project was going to be mapping the Civil Rights movement but after looking into it further, I realized as cool of an idea it could be, it would be a lot to take on for one person. So, based on the conversation we had in class about my project, I decided to focus on different assassinations and murders of the Civil Rights movement and the impact each of them had on other Civil Rights events using Arc GIS. I would include a link to the project but that would require me to publish it but I’m not sure if I can edit it again after that so I didn’t want to risk it.

Honestly this is a pretty brutal project and sometimes I feel insane for doing it but it’s also really interesting

I’ve picked several key figures, which I’ll write more about later in the post, but eventually, with more time to do research, I’d like to expand the project to include figures that aren’t as well known in this. For now, I’ve selected people who I know off the bat had a major influence with their deaths, going chronologically, beginning with Emmett Till.

For each person I plan to include their death date, a photo of them, and probably a short bio. I haven’t included the bio here yet because I’m not totally sure what all to include in it that would be relevant. That is my first question that I hope you guys might be able to help me with. What would you want to see in the bio of these people? Do you care about their background outside of Civil Rights? Or would it be more beneficial and concise to include just information about their activism or life as a black person during Jim Crow. This is a little more difficult for figures like Till and the four girls killed in the 16th St Birmingham Church bombing because none of them were actively involved in advancing civil rights, they were all just kids hanging out with their cousins or going to church. Any advice on how to approach the bio/info/whatever section?

For each assassination or murder I’m including a numbered point as the assassination/murder location, including a photo, the date, and information about what happened. The points stemming out from there are then events that happened in response to the assassination/murder and also include a photo, dates, and descriptions. The plot in Chicago is the funeral of Till which gained media attention at the request of his mother and was one of the sparks of the Civil Rights movements. The plot in Sumner, Mississippi is the trial of Milam and Bryant where they were acquitted of killing Till. The Montgomery point is the Montgomery Bus Boycott in which Rosa Parks was inspired by Till to not give up her seat that day. Some of these assassinations/murders will have more or less responses, this one being one of the fewer, but MLK’s assassination will obviously have many more points.

The above are the other assassinations/murders I have planned out, so this is where I ask my second question: Can any of you think of others I should add to this list? These were the ones I know really well. I also have another question for you guys. I had the idea of taking this beyond Civil Rights and sort of showing how this kind of things continues even today with maybe a post Civil Rights section. I was thinking about including people like Rodney King (although he wasn’t assassinated, there was a huge response to his attack by police), Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, etc. I didn’t know if this would be too much or stemming too far from my original idea but I thought it might be an interesting inclusion to the conversation about race. Let me know what you guys think! I hope all of your projects are going well!

DC Communities – Project Update

Hello digital history fans! Here is a little update on my project.

I made some great progress a few weeks ago and started working on my StoryMap and writing a narrative for the website. The map builder seems simple enough to use, but I quickly ran into problems. I could not assign different colors to different stops, making the entire map one color. I decided to create two maps – each following one couple instead of both. In addition to this technical difficulty, I decided that I am not intimately familiar enough with the husband’s interviews to tell their stories. At this point in time I will likely just follow the wives and map their stories.

I like this idea because I started thinking about my life and all of the places I’ve lived, worked, and visited. I’d love to map out my own life because I’ve never taken the time to write it down. This platform is a great way to preserve our stories, and pair them with other resources such as oral history and images. In an ideal world, these maps could layer over each other and see where stories/lives overlap. This also creates potential for finding common themes and events in people’s lives. For example, researchers could use this collection of stories to research citizenship and nationality like I did, or look at international reactions to 9/11. (Svetlana went to visit Jude in London around the time of attack, and was sent back to the United States because of a problem with her visa.)

Here are some pictures of what I have so far!

Here’s the first thing you see when you open my StoryMap! It is followed by a description of the project.
I haven’t added arrows following the subject’s path, yet! I’m worried it will make the map look messy.
Here you can see glimpses of orange, which denote “points” – aka cities important to the couple.

I’m also struggling with being able to add my documents, and there appears to be a lack of ability to add audio to the platform. Creators can upload or link videos, but not audio… Strange. Maybe I can embed a link to SoundCloud?

For my next steps, I’m going to look into the map creator a bit more rather than the map within story maps and see if I can get it to do what I want. I’d really like to use different colored points for different kinds of events, some with dates attached and some more narrative.  I’m also debating if I should switch this project over to Word Press so that I can upload documents and audio clips.

Any tips, colleagues?

“Legacies of Slavery” Tour at the National Gallery of Art

Hello everybody! 

Although I am doing the digital project, my first draft is mainly centered around the script that I have written for my audio tour. I’ve attached it here. A large majority of time has been taken up by using the digital archives at the National Gallery of Art to learn about the artists, subjects, and provenance of their collection in order to link it to legacies of the slave trade. In addition, I spent most of this week attempting to map the collection pieces I chose to highlight onto the physical space of the galleries, ordering them in a potential tour path that makes sense for visitors. The layout of the NGA’s Main Floor and Ground Floor are below, and I’ve added red circles to the areas where my tour will stop so you can see the galleries I’ve chosen.

The tour begins on the Ground Floor, and then moves to the Main Floor.

My next step is the major digital aspect— recording each tour stop on SoundCloud. I haven’t yet been able to do this, because my tiny apartment is VERY loud, and it’s difficult to do sound recordings here. In any case, I’ll be spending the next week working on creating those. The NGA already has audio tour files on SoundCloud, so I will be doing my best to mimic their template for my own tour. 

This is the NGA’s SoundCloud page

I also plan to edit this physical script to be more visually-pleasing, because I want to allow deaf or hard of hearing patrons to still take the tour without using the audio version. Inclusivity is the bomb! 

I do think that I’ll make the intro/conclusion a bit longer, but I wanted to keep each tour stop short in order to allow for more stops and to avoid boring the visitor! Please let me know if you have any recommendations (or if you know of any other works I might include in the tour!) 

Digital Project: Prohibition Tour of Minnesota Speakeasy Bars

I have successfully created a historypin for this project, and have started to populate it with some of the images and locations I want to use in a tour. Currently I have 9 pins, a few of which are extra and aligned to demonstrate the actual history held by certain locations on the map. My plan moving forward is to have a total of 10-15 restaurants/bars, and find a relevant newspaper clipping to attach to establishments that have document ties to a former speakeasy. Once those have been compiled, I will create a tour using the locations of establishments.

This will create a piece of interactive history for the community seeking to learn more about this event that took the country by storm over 100 years ago, and give them something to have visiting family do. While the pins will highlight restaurants and bars that have a speakeasy theme, or places that offer tours of speakeasy era Twin Cities, the comments with each seeks to understand what can be learned from each location. As a public historian, I believe that making history fun does not have to detract from the value of learning it. This project accomplishes that digitally.

This map will marry the reality of bars that commodify the history of the era through their food and drink with the newspaper documentation of various arrests and busts in the Twin Cities during the 1920s. By creating this digital resource it will allow local history buffs to learn more about specific locations history, and discover the history of the area that might have inspired many of the themed bars and restaurants.

The challenges I’ve been experiencing with this project are how to narrow this down into a concise package that is doable with digital access to resources. Additionally, some of them are quite spread out, but still a day trips distance from the Twin Cities to help any potential out of state visitors figure out where else they might want to go for a vacation or help locals discover other areas in the state. Aside from that, I have also spent time crafting the inclusion of current establishments into this to give it a more interactive feel fro guests that might want to learn more about the state and its ties to the landmark event of 100 years ago.

I’d love to hear suggestions for locations or revisions from you, please don’t hesitate to drop me a comment!