Digital Project Proposal

I live in the community of Silver Spring, Maryland. It is a community that has a unique history, from its founding as an estate of the Blair family in the 1820s, growing as part of the explosion of suburban development in the early to mid twentieth century, to more recently experiencing the demographic and economic changes that are becoming more common in an increasingly diversifying United States. While Silver Spring has a local historical society (Silver Spring Historical Society), it has yet to present much of its collection in a digital format. For my digital project, I would like to create a platform for presenting some of Silver Spring’s history online.

I am interested in presenting the history of Silver Spring in a geographic format such as a virtual tour of Silver Spring. I would strive to make my project as interactive as possible; I like the approach of allowing the public to manipulate the digital content. I am interested in potentially using two tools. I think Viewshare would be suitable to creating a collection of what will likely be mostly photographs and placing them on a map. I like how Viewshare has the capability of integrating a variety of historical materials into a collection.  I am also interested in using the site Historypin. I like how this website uses the Google Street Views to overlay historical photographs with what is currently there. Also, Historypin has a mobile app component which I believe would help increase the visibility and dissemination of the project. While creating a virtual tour of a community has been done before, I think the history of Silver Spring could offer unique opportunities. I envision including this project in my U.S. History high school class I teach when we study suburbanization as a way of making our local history relevant.  

I hope my project could be publicized through the historical society if up to standard. Hopefully if the public is aware, more people could contribute any historical materials they may possess to the site or collection so it could continue to grow. I would like the audience for the project to be as broad as possible, from local historians in the Washington D.C. area to potentially tourists who visit our region. I would evaluate the project from the feedback I receive from users and the level of interest it produces. Ultimately, I feel getting historical material online is always positive, and I hope that presenting the local history of Silver Spring, Maryland digitally will have broad appeal.

One Reply to “Digital Project Proposal”

  1. Great project idea. Viewshare and HistoryPin are both viable options. Off the cuff, I think that HistoryPin’s tour functionality might be the way to go. Their mobile app and tour functionality are really powerful.

    Do you have a sense of what photos you would be working from? Would you be scanning images yourself or is there already a pool of images you would work from?

    Do you know anyone from the historical society? I would suggest contacting them if you don’t and mentioning your project idea. There is a good chance that they might have some ideas and guidance for you.

    You might also look around in the local history community and see if there are any folks that might be willing to contribute some expertise and or images. For example, this book is loaded with local history images and the author is local. Might be worth reaching out to them.

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