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.

One Reply to “Digital Project: Mapping DC Historic Houses”

  1. Hi Connor, Great to see how this project is coming together. I found it easy to navigate the interface and I could imagine it being a useful way to navigate the sites too. One thought on it, is that you might want to reach out to the Historic House Consortium of Metropolitan Washington D.C., (their site is http://dchousemuseums.org/). I could imagine that they might be interested in using and or contributing to your map.

    As you note at the end, I think you now have a nice collection that you could then potentially build out a tour using histoypin’s tour function. So I could imagine a range of thematic ways to work through that. I could imagine working with them in a chronological fashion, or more thematically, or if part of your objective is to focus on using this for actually physically navigating the area then it could also be based on what locations work for different kinds of walking tours or locations that it works to bike between.

    Overall, great to see how your project is coming together!

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