For starters, here is my project poster:
I learned a lot this semester. It taught me the powers and dangers of the internet when it comes to history, something I had never fully considered before this class. I also appreciated the various practicums we used throughout the course. I would have struggled to find all of these tools on my own, and watching y’all demo them made me feel very comfortable with even the most finicky and difficult software (looking at you, Aris). Lastly, our discussions often inspired me or challenged me to be more critical or to explore the depth of history on the web, which helped me grow as both as a historian and as a person.
When I decided to pursue a digital project, I really wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. I knew I wanted to build an interactive map because I feel participatory engagement is crucial to learning in the digital realm, but otherwise I was starting from scratch. When I landed on ArcGIS StoryMaps, it felt right but definitely daunting.
So, I started to embed myself in my research, scouring various databases and websites for elusive monuments and groups. Once I found a majority of the monuments that fit my criteria, I started to build the map. I had a near disaster when I lost half my points when my site reloaded before I saved (talk about a heart attack) and spent too many hours trying to figure out short cuts and ways to tweak my map so that it would present well.
Once I had a map, the rest of the site sort of wrote itself as I talked about what I was seeing and how that compared to what I was reading about these monuments. I found that these monuments carry on a historical legacy but have some new features about them that set them apart from previous memorials. In the end, it was a fun project and definitely a skill I am glad I learned. I want to keep working with it by updating it as necessary.
This process blended all the reading we finished throughout the semester and taught me how to think creatively and skillfully regarding digital websites and exhibits. As professionals, these skills we’ve practiced throughout the semester will be invaluable as our profession slowly embraces the opportunities the digital world continues to offer those who want to preserve and interpret the past.
Here is my final project, and on a similar note to Amanda’s post, you can follow me on twitter at @joshnreynolds . Congrats on making it to end, y’all