Museums at Home: Online Exhibits

I both loved and hated the process of creating this online exhibit.

One of the main reasons I hated my experience was because I am not I technologically savvy person. It is because of this that I accidentally messed up the formatting of my website. After a few frustrating hours, I decided to give up on my website idea. I felt like this was the best choice for me, but this then later left me confused as to how I would present my online exhibit. I didn’t want to give up on my idea because I really liked the concept. After doing some research, I was able to find a program that would let me create a model of my exhibit. What I also really like about Artsteps is that it was free for users.
The software that I used is available through the website ArtSteps. ArtSteps is a web-based program that allows users to create virtual art galleries. This website also allows users to turn their gallery into a VR experience. However, I decided not to keep it simple since I am not very well versed in this program.

I decided to use one of the pre-built gallery models after a few failed building attempts. Sadly, there are only two pre-built options for galleries in the program. However, these pre-built models are very well spacious for the many objects and pictures a user would like to put in place. Another thing to note is that a user can not edit the furniture inside these pre-built models. These are a few annoying aspects of the program, but I had a lot of fun putting up my exhibit.

One major warning I will give people who are interested in using this program is that the site is currently receiving a lot of traffic. Many people are turning to programs like this one since the pandemic has closed many cultural institutions. I had a tough time uploading the picture, articles, and 3D objects into my exhibit. It also did not help that I had internet connection issues. Still, I was able to get the main parts of my exhibit up. I will continue to work on my online exhibit as it has been since I could not put in more details.

I definitely think that museums will continue to expand on what is possible with this programming. I can’t speak for all of us historians, but I’m sure that many of us miss going to our favorite museums. One of the things that has made me stay a little sane in quarantine is looking at online exhibits from museums around the world. I hope that you all are also finding ways to stay sane during these uncertain times. Thanks for a great semester!


Online Exhibit Mock Up

Hello Everyone! I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy!

In this post, I will attempt to explain the idea I have for my final project. For my final project, I wanted to create an online exhibit that talks about the different kinds of protesters that existed within the anti-Vietnam war movement. A lot of the images that you will see are hand drawings because I am not very technologically savvy. I am sorry for the low-quality pictures, but it is the best way I can explain what I imagine. I would rather not show the website just yet as I accidentally changed the formatting of the website and can’t undo it. Thankfully, an engineer friend has offered to help me as they are now have a lot of free time.

For this project, I imagined that the year was 2025 and that the museum I work for is creating an online exhibit for the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War’s end. This exhibit is meant to focus on the people who helped bring the war to an end, protesters. The misconception that many people have is that the anti-war movement was mostly made up of upper-middle-class white college students. In reality, many people who were a part of the movement came from varying different backgrounds.

This is a very ROUGH idea of my website.
I swear it’s gonna be nicer!

The three main groups that the online exhibit will cover are veterans, musicians, and religious communities. Each group will have newspaper reports of the protests they organized or attended. I chose to include this as primary evidence that these groups were actively participating in the movement. This will also allow site visitors to compare the language that was used to describe the activism of each group. For example, religious groups are talked about with more respect than veteran protesters. Newspapers are also one of the main things I have access to in quarantine, so that is a bonus!

Some of the other things posted on the online exhibit will be objects, profiles, and pictures. The objects will be a mix of protest signs, buttons, and t-shirts. Thankfully, I worked on a project in undergrad that gave me a lot of access to these types of objects. Unfortunately, only the “religious” section will have objects on the page since many other places are not responding to my emails. Other things like pictures will have citations and links to where they came from.

One of the other things that I would like to include in the online exhibit is music. Musicians will be another group that the online exhibit will focus on because of the influence they had. Having their protest songs will be another way to prove that their ideas were widespread in many different parts of the country. Many within the movement connected to this music as a way to speak truth to power. Their music also shows that the movement was not only filled with young hippies.


What does it mean to collect and exhibit/present/interpret digital objects? This week we explore this issue across new media art, source code, and digitized materials. The two readings that illustrate this are Museumbots: An Appreciation by Steven Lubar and Collecting the Present: Digital Code and Collections By Sebastian Chan. Along with thinking through issues of presenting digital objects we also explore the potential of turning our interpretations and exhibitions over to the machines themselves.

What is available to see in a museum is rarely its whole collection. Many times a valuable piece is hidden for restoration or a collection is on loan. These eventualities are known to the museum visitor, but less often thought of are the catalogs of items in archives and storage. It is the odds and interests that are less eye-catching, less preserved, or that don’t fit neatly into the narrative or sets that a museum has chosen to display at the current time. These important but often overlooked artifacts may never have the chance to be seen if it were not for the interesting work of Museum

Bots. These lines of code trawl through the archives and collections of a museum to post out to the world based only on the pre-selected algorithm. To me, this is similar to the act of the discovery itself. Each item has it’s own chance to be unearthed and appreciated for it’s won merits and beauty whether it is a full sculpture or a fragment of a plate. For this reason, I find the idea of these bots somewhat romantic and it really makes me think about the biases of the historical representation available in accessible collections which lean toward what might draw more people and tell a more complete narrative. History Bot reminds me that History is often far from complete, it is a hidden beauty. Although a photograph can only show you so much of an item, the color of a pigment is almost impossible to pass through a camera lens, computer compression, and to the viewer without loss. Details lost and never passed on may give viewers a less than complete experience of the work shown to them, and so I don’t believe that a digital exhibition or presentation of works will ever truly be able to replace the physical experience. People will always prefer to see a masterwork painting in person than to see it in their web search results.

On a non-art aside, we must remember that all code and bots are only as the creators designed. They indeed have their own sets of biases that drive them and as Mark Sample points out the uses of these bots can be as wide and as varied as the people who make them. I know of a bot on the internet that’s sole purpose is to tweet whether the current day Is Friday the thirteenth. This is by all accounts a comical and simple bot. On the other side, a protest bot or other activist-oriented bots make a somber and clear point. Bots that remind the populace of the over-reach of government watchdog programs. Indeed there are Bots that coordinate protests on a grand scale across the country, that act for the social or the moral good. As the news is quick to remind us there are also bad actors who create bots that skew discourse, manipulate search results and bury opinions. Tweeting out misinformation and voting down unfavorable mentions. If these bots and tactics were used to suppress certain forms of history from the web I feel that would be a nightmare.

In short, I am optimistic of the ability to utilize these tools to bring light to history and other elements in a way that wouldn’t be feasible for a person to do, but I believe that it isn’t a magic bullet to be relied on and we should always look to have verified sources and physical records as we go forward into these new frontiers.

The Shelley-Godwin Archive

Seven institutions came together to create the Shelley-Godwin Archive to digitized the works of Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, William Godwin, and Mary Wollstonecraft. These authors were part of the same family and are considered to be “England’s first family of writers.” One of the most recognizable family members in the modern day is Mary Shelley, who wrote Frankenstein.

Frankenstein (1931 film)

Users can look at many different manuscripts in the “Explore the Archive” page. After selecting a document, the page shows users what the actual text looks like and also provides a transcription of the work. Along with this, the transcription can also show users who wrote certain sections. This particular feature is especially useful to those trying to understand how these authors collaborated with other people. It is excellent that this archive digitized the original work as they are fragile documents.

There are many benefits to this archive, but unfortunately, not all the features are available. One of the main features that is promoted under the page “Using the Shelley-Godwin Archive” is the ability to search within the manuscripts. However, this feature is not available to use. One of the instructional videos shows users how to search for words like “Monster” and “wretch,” but when a user tries this, zero results show up. Not even the search for “Mary” receives any results, which is odd considering that one of the primary authors in the archive is named Mary.

I was not the only person who had this issue. My friends also could not search for anything and kept getting an error message that said they could not connect to the server.

The search engine does not give any results when trying to search for a word.

Overall this is a good archive for maintaining manuscripts, but it is not searchable. Research can still be done with this archive, but it may take longer for scholars to find what they are looking for in such an extensive collection.

Mapping Anti-Vietnam War Activism

The 1960s and 1970s made D.C. a hub for political protests. The Civil Rights movement was popular in protesting in D.C., but they were not the only ones. The political protests that saw much action in the city came from the anti-war movement. This movement was mostly made up of young college students who chose D.C. as the place where they would let their thoughts on the Vietnam War known. These protests attracted national attention to young political activists, but the media sometimes covered them in a negative light. These activists were young and angry about U.S. military involvement in Vietnam, which is why they were portrayed as a mob. These young activists soon became the face of the anti-war movement.

This movement was also not an unorganized mess. Contrary to popular belief, these college students did not make up the entire movement. College students were the main protesters in the anti-war movement, but many churches and Civil Rights leaders were also involved. This diverse group of people created and worked with organizations around D.C. to promote a peaceful resolution. These people were disgusted by the violence that many innocent Vietnamese families were going through under the hands of American forces. The Vietnamese people had to deal with things like “search and destroy” missions that would ruin the livelihoods of many rural farmers. The organizations that these activists worked with helped bring awareness to what Vietnamese people were going through.

Bettmann Archive

Mapping out where these organizations in D.C. would change the perspective of these who these activists were. Each pin on the map would provide information about the organization and the charity work they did. The pins could also provide links to articles that discuss what politicians these activists were able to meet with. Having this map would give these activists credibility as a serious social movement.

This map would be useful to scholars trying to look for more information on activism in the nation’s capital. The links provided can make reaching out to these organizations and archives easier. There is currently no map that complies this information, and this could be a much-needed research tool for scholars and students. This tool would be open to the public on a mapping site in order to ensure that it is accessible for free. It is necessary to have this tool be easily accessible to researchers in order for accurate information about activists to be more widespread.