When I sign up for this class last fall, I’m not quite sure what I expected. I kind of knew what digital history was, but I didn’t have a great understanding. When we first got the assignment it was to create a new 360 tour for the museum. That seemed really difficult and yet overly simple at the same time for a semester long project. The museum wanted a new 360 tour, the rest was pretty much up to us. Working with the base idea that we wanted people to be able to immerse themselves in what the James Monroe Museum has to offer, we decided to make artifact videos for some of the items currently on the museum floor. Then we had to consider what the best way to incorporate this into the project would be and came up with the idea of putting hotspots (links to the videos) in the tour. Then, I believe after a suggestion from Dr. McClurken, we decided to also link previous projects on the museum in the tour. We had some trouble with figuring out what program to use with the hotspots because many cost quite a bit, but then Lesya found one that was free and could do everything we wanted.
When reviewing the website, we also noticed that they has a bulleted timeline of James Monroe’s life. Emily had the idea of creating a timeline using Timeline JS to make their timeline more immersive and incorporate pictures. From there, we came up with the idea of using StoryMap JS to highlight and give visual context to the travels that James Monroe took during his lifetime. This was created by Sarah based on the timeline provided by the James Monroe Museum. While both pieces feature similar information, they have different uses and focuses for people visiting the site.
Besides editing two videos (Neoclassical Chair and the Monroe Doctrine Desk), I created and designed our website. The process was interesting. For my own website, I’ve cultivated it over the last couple years to make it what I wanted it to be. For this, I had to work under a little bit more of a time crunch. Then I had the idea is that our project featured a few different things that could potentially have formatting issues on our site, so I had to spend quite a bit of time just trying to find a theme that worked with what we wanted. Then can the formatting. Again, we had a few different pieces and I was trying to find the best way to bring them all together, then I also had to consider outside sources. I ended up finding a slideshow theme that really fit my needs. For other formatting, I included the James Monroe Website in out menu since everything is based around the museum. Then, to keep the menu from being visually overwhelming, I grouped the timeline and StoryMap together. Formatting everything was slightly more stressful than anticipated. Video editing was also slightly stressful. I’ve had experience video editing in previous classes, but for this we had a hard time getting all the pieces so that we could record the video. Once we got everything, it was pretty easy breezy.
The contract for this project was helpful, it forced up to consider what we were doing and create realistic goals. However, we were pretty unfamiliar with some of the aspects of our project so we didn’t really know what was realistic. Ultimately, meeting our deadlines within our contract were a little wonky, but I think we stuck to owe original idea. We wanted to create an immersive experience with the museum to draw people in and attempt to integrate technology and learning and I certainly think we did that. Using our project (and even those linked from before) teaching can see wat the museum has to offer. So while we may have taken longer than planned to edit videos, I could not be happier with what was created. Each piece allows people to immerse more into the museum and we also created QR codes for our videos so that even those the museum have something extra to find. I am so happy I got this experience and hope I get to use it again soon.