Digital Project Reflection: Mapping DC Historic Houses

Hello everyone! I hope you are all doing well and managing the end of semester workload.

I really enjoyed working on this digital project and exploring the different ways in which history can be presented and the different tools that are available to present history in different ways.

For this final project I continued working on a collection using HistoryPin to display historic houses in the DC area. HistoryPin proved to be an all around user friendly tool for creating a virtual tour or presentation on a historic topic. I found it was particularly easy to create the collections and pins. Simply acquiring and photo and information on it were sufficient to creating the initial collection, and allowed for adequate room to expand upon them.

I had hoped to achieve several things with the project. The initial goal was simply to create a virtual tour of historic locations in the DC area that might generally be ignored by the general public. In a city so filled with history as Washington, DC, it can be easy for some of these places to go largely ignored by the public. These locations contain not only fascinating and important stories of history, but also important insights into the preservation of historic locations.

From there the goal of the project expanded to highlighting more of the process by which these historic houses came into the possession of the organizations who now own and operate them and how they choose to preserve that history. From here viewers of this collection could either plan a simple tour of the houses,if tours are provided, or get access to further information that could prove useful, such as events or research opportunities. With this information, viewers could also see the differences between the operations of houses owned by private organizations and houses operated by the federal government.

Due to the nature of HistoryPin, this collection now also has an opportunity to grow further, as other users could contribute to the collection of houses they have been to, and provide insights into the practices of the house and what services they may offer to both tourists and researchers alike. This project did not come without its own share of difficulties though. Though HistoryPin was a very useful and easy to use tool for this collection, it also had some technical problems that led to me being unable to make certain additions. For example, the collection is complete and a tour was created for all of the houses in the collection. However, when I went to create another tour to differentiate between houses that were owned by organizations that were separate from the federal government and had public access, the pins kept getting deleted. So while I hoped to create subsections based on useful traits for researchers/visitors, the technical problems with the site prevented me from doing so.

Overall though, the site made it easy enough to compile a collection of historic sites and present information about them, who owns and operates them, how they are preserved, and what use they could be to historians or those just interested in learning more about the city’s history. While there is still more that this project could eventually become, it has already proved the effectiveness of this digital tool for compiling this type of information.

3 Replies to “Digital Project Reflection: Mapping DC Historic Houses”

  1. Connor,

    This is an awesome project! Historic houses are my favorite kind of museums, and your mapping project can function quite like a bucket list for fans like myself who are visiting the DC area! Looking forward to visiting a few that I haven’t gotten to yet. Great work!


  2. Connor, this is a great project! I love hearing that HistoryPin is so user friendly and that this project can be iterative and co-created by other users, which, hopefully, results in a more representative range of historic homes! I am also thinking how interesting it might be to include homes/sites that have applied for, say, the National Register of Historic Places, and been denied. Representing them in a tour of this sort might allow the legacy to continue as a “site of memory” even after the site no longer physically exists. Good work!

  3. Great to see how this project has come together! It was easy to navigate through the tour and I think you’ve built something that could be of general use to folks interested in historic homes in the metro area.

    Thank you for sharing a bit about some of the technical challenges you encountered when you tried creating additional views of this set of data. Running into and working through those kinds of challenges with digital tools is itself a big part of our course goals.

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