My initial concept for this digital project was to create a tour that would get people to explore some of the lesser-known monuments and memorials around D.C. Since then, I’ve refined the project to focus specifically on Civil War-related monuments, since there are such an extensive number to work with. The final product is called “Beyond the Generals,” and it does exactly what it says on the tin: bypasses the statues of military commanders that litter the city to look at other approaches to commemorating the Civil War.
I wanted to use this project to examine how our national memorialization of this conflict has changed over time, especially once you take a lot of the great man narratives out of the equation. Therefore, I chose to lay it out chronologically, in the order these monuments were dedicated, and to discuss how the cultural context in which they were erected influence their content.
The basic structure of the tour is all in place, along with a rough draft of all the text. From here, my plan is to refine and edit the text and possibly add some additional or better historical photos, depending on what is available. The final stop (“The Dresser”) definitely needs a more professional photo, as the current one was just snapped on my phone as I was passing by. As I’m getting ready to make these refinements, I would love to get some feedback from all of you on my approach so far! I have a few bigger questions and a few little nitpicky ones.
- Is the tour the right length, both in terms of number of stops and amount of content for each stop? Based on our class discussion I went for depth instead of breadth, but I could still expand.
- Is it cohesive enough, and does the order make sense?
There are a few other stops I was considering adding if the consensus is that it should be longer, but they would require significant deviation from the current tour route, which is (mostly) linear even if you follow the chronological order I’ve laid out.
- HistoryPin requires that you enter the year that each pin was created, so I’ve been including the years my photos were taken. I’m basing some of my discussion on the years the monuments were dedicated, though, which isn’t always the same as the photo year. Should I switch the years?
- How formal should the citations be? Right now there are bibliography entries at the end of each pin, but they aren’t formally footnoted to specific parts of the text. And does anyone know how to fix those weird embedded link cards that are popping up?
- Would it be useful for me to go out and take my own photos of each of these sites, or does having Google street view included accomplish the same thing?
The final element of my plan is to try to take a test run of this tour on the ground before I finalize it, so if anyone is interested in an afternoon of exploring some historically overlooked monumental architecture, do let me know!