Andy Lewis Final Project,-77.058491,10/bounds/38.421197,-77.415547,39.359666,-76.701435/paging/1

For the final project of Digital History I set out to compile a list of religious buildings in or near the Washington, D.C. area. The project would be digital because it would be created and displayed online, on a website demonstrated in a class practicum called Historypin. The project would be historical because it would collect the religious buildings that have some kind of historical relevance to their faith tradition and to the city of Washington in general.

The project was created when I was driving down Mass Ave and noticed just how many religious buildings one has to pass if they are leaving the main campus of American and heading down past Embassy Row and into downtown D.C. I was further inspired when I noticed that there was not a regularly accessible list of historically significant religious buildings to view or visit in D.C. online, and I resolved to rectify the gap. This meant that the goals of the project were pretty simple: create a collection of buildings that are significant to the history of Washington, with the intention of capturing as much diversity as possible. The project was also expected to be informative and visually engaging, which is why the format of Historypin was selected. Historypin permits one to create a collection of places on a map and to provide the pins with photos and short descriptions, which was perfect for the project.

The project drew on many of the ideas and lessons presented in the class, especially the ones that emphasized the new abilities that the digital historical field could provide for the collection, maintenance, and presentation of history. For sure, Historypin is very user-friendly, but without the class the very possibility of the project would simply never had occurred to me, not to mention that I might have the ability and the tools necessary to create it. The concepts learned in class provided the idea, and the practicums were super helpful in determining how I would bring the idea to fruition.

In the end, I learned quite a bit from this project. It was super entertaining to do the research on the 45 buildings I ended up selecting for my collection, and almost as fun finding pictures and blurbing useful information about their histories. The project challenged me to learn and use digital skills that I would not have had otherwise, from using digital resources to synthesize information to using a digital platform to create a publicly available collection. I certainly learned a lot more about the history of religious buildings in the D.C. area.

I really liked making my project and I am happy with how it turned out. I was able to include nine different religions and many more religious traditions and denominations, and I think it is pretty accessible for anyone who is curious about the content to navigate. There are also many avenues I could take for expanding the project, if I were so inclined, like getting into contact with the featured religious institutions or working to sort the collection more clearly along various demarcations, like architectural style or building age. For now, I think I will finish with saying that I am glad I chose this as my final project, and I am satisfied with the result.

5 Replies to “Andy Lewis Final Project”

  1. Your project not only has relevance to religion but also in establishing it within new forms of media. As you say, there was not a regularly accessible list of religious sites so gap-filling was a noble approach to this problem. As many diverse people come to DC either as tourists or to stay, I think your list will be helpful. I think if you expanded your list to other religions then it would be even more helpful to a wider variety of people. Even so, your project does its job to show the geography of the many religious sites in DC. People of DC can use your resource to locate a site relevant to them or even find new places to explore. I am glad that you were able to use a new form of media to show the power of place of religious sites in DC in this course.

  2. I think this is such a neat idea, Andy! I’ve noticed the Catholic Basilica in Brookland and the Washington Cathedral by American University’s campus, but I’ve never stopped to think about their history or the history of other religious buildings in DC. I really enjoyed looking at all 45 sites on your historypin. It surprised me (although it shouldn’t have) to just how religiously diverse DC is. I wonder what the population/ average attendance is at each site.

  3. Andy, this turned out really great. I had a lot of fun looking through the pins and definitely learned something new about places that are really close to where I live. I appreciated the diversity in belief systems that are represented. It really paints a picture of all of the different cultures that make up D.C. I also liked that this was something of an architectural tour as well. Beyond the historical significance, I really liked clicking through and seeing a lot of really stunning buildings. Great work!

  4. I’m really impressed with how your project turned out, I can’t believe you found 45 buildings. I also really liked that you discussed notable people that attended these institutions which further added to the interesting and educational captions.

  5. Hi Andy! You have so much on your map, and it’s all so interesting! You captured a wild amount of variety, and all of the information in the research blurbs is incredibly detailed and fun to read! It really draws attention to buildings that can be easy to just pass by and not really notice if you aren’t looking for them specifically. I wonder if it would be possible to use the timeline option on the side tracking when these buildings were constructed initially, so we could see how this map of religious sites changed and expanded over time!

    This is such a cool project, it turned out really well!

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