My original goal for this project was to create a place-based historical experience for the Julie American Girl doll character and books, much like Colonial Williamsburg serves for Felicity. While I still like this concept, the execution has been more difficult than expected.
Julie’s story takes place in 1974 San Francisco. There is a lot happening in San Francisco in the 1970s—environmental movement, women’s movement, disability movement, gay rights movement. However, few of these movements have tangible places connected to them that work as a tour’s or educational material’s focal point.
So, I’ve switched to telling the histories I can with the places mentioned in the books and in places that have similar themes to the books. I am still working on putting all of my pins together—the research and photo finding process has taken longer than expected—but I do have a handful of pins uploaded at the moment. These give a sense of the type of narrative I am writing for each pin.
One thing I am struggling with is how to tie the tour together with a cohesive idea. At the moment it is just a scattering of history that relates to some aspect of the Julie books. This might be the end result, but I think the tour would be more meaningful if it had an overarching thesis of some sort.
One thing that I am considering is developing mini-tours under the overarching Julie tour, specifically one for Chinatown and one for the environmental movement since these are the areas in which I have the most content. However, this would further exacerbate that lack of focus for the remaining pins, so that is to be determined.
The two below pins/topic areas are ones that I want to include, but am currently struggling to find an angle/location. Please let me know if you have any suggestions for them:
- Haight Street—Julie lives on this street and it is an iconic San Francisco landmark, but I’m really not sure how to approach it. Haight Street was the center of the 1960s Hippie & Free Love movement, which is great and all, but that focuses the narrative on sex and drugs and I don’t think I can do those topics justice in the space that I have.
- Feminism—feminism and women’s equality is a major theme in the books and an important part of 1970s history; however, there is absolutely no good event or landmark or museum in San Francisco to use as an entry point/place
- Add more pins to the tour and continue to edit the existing pins.
- Please let me know if you have ideas on titling the pins. I have a mix of things at the moment.
- Sometimes I struggle with what date to use both because some of my pins span decades of history and because HistoryPin does not allow circa dates. Any thoughts would be appreciated (ex. Ghirardelli and Science for the Future).
- Develop an order and overarching narrative for the tour.
- Perhaps create supplementary material for the tour. (This seems unlikely given my time constraints, but it could be good to have a lesson plan type document outlining how to use the tour in a classroom and/or as a girl scout activity. It would also be useful to create a marketing flyer/brochure.)
One Reply to “Digital Project Draft: Julie’s San Francisco”
I really enjoyed checking out your tour! On the whole, I think you’ve got something that is coming together really nicely. I like how all the pins start out by connecting Julie to the place and to topics and issues in history at that moment in time. In working through it, it seemed like the tour might benefit from having some opening bit to it. Like if you could have a first picture that is a picture of Julie the doll where she introduces the tour or something and gives an overview? Along with that, I think it could be good to try and make your final place on the tour something that feels like it present’s some form of closure.
I agree that it would be stronger if you developed an overarching story or thesis for the tour. My experience with this kind of work is that it is helpful to think of the work you are doing in the same way that you might work over a piece of writing or an artist would work through sketching. That is, it’s only in attempting to put the pins together and get the content together that you can really find the theme and narrative. To that effect, I think you are doing exactly what you should be doing and it becomes a question of how much iteration you want to work through with the tour during the course of the class.
With that noted, I think the way you’ve framed every stop on the tour in relation to Julie and her story gives you enough of a structure that the whole thing is currently hanging together quite nicely. So I think if you just tinker with adding an opening and closing spot on the tour that you would get there.
I think making some supplemental material is a great idea. I get that there are time constraints in the semester, but even just making a print version of the tour could be neat. That is, make one big map image of the whole tour and then pull out the text into a PDF with the image. I think it might be helpful to have a single document version of the tour along with the interactive historypin version.