Category Archives: Digital History Blog


Mission Statement: This project was completed in association with the James Monroe Museum. Our goal is to integrate technology and history through the lens of the James Monroe Museum’s collection. We aim to make history exciting and accessible to all. The baseline of this project was to create a 360 tour of the James Monroe Museum and enhance people’s overall online immersion experience of the museum. In addition to the tour, we have created a timeline and StoryMap. We have also created 10 artifact videos that are linked within the tour and have linked previous projects that others have done in collaboration with the museum. With all these parts, we hope that history lovers and educators can get a feeling for what the museum has to offer. We hope that this will not only inspire people to visit the museum, but that it will provide an immersive experience for those who are not able to go see it in person.

In general, our actual project process did not stray too far from the contract, at least not our revised contract. In regards to tools, most of what we used, was in fact listed on the contract. The only thing we really had to change was when it came to the hotspots and the 360 tour and what site would host it. The original one that we looked at cost money to use, and we needed to find one that was free. We ended up using Roundaa. Our schedule is probably where we deviated the most. Doing the actual filming and photo taking of the museum and its artifacts was actually a lot faster than we originally thought it would be. What took longer was the video editing, and voice over work. The reason though that the voiceover took so long is because we had to wait on people from the Speaking Center to give us an answer on whether they wanted to do the voice overs themselves, or if we would have to do it. The ambitious goals also got done very quickly, and were able to all be completed.

The basic division of labor that was given in the contract also mostly stayed the same. However, we worked to support each other and help each other out in our tasks where people needed it. Kelly did lead in the photo taking and filming for 360, Lesya lead filming of artifact videos and working with hotspots, Kasey was website lead and liaison between us and the potential voice over actors, Emily was the liaison between us and the museum curators, and I worked on research and creation for the storymap and editing on the timeline,  but we switched some of the other duties around. Instead of having one person on editing artifact videos and Emily do Closed Captions, Kelly,  Lesya, Kasey, and Emily split up the videos to edit, while I did the closed captions once they were uploaded. We also ended up splitting up the voice over work, since the actors ended up not doing it. Emily, Lesya, and I worked on recording ourselves, and the others used them in the video editing. The Timeline and Storymap research and creation ended up being moved to Emily and I, while Kasey worked on the website. We all ended up doing filming and phototaking support, and though we didn’t have it listed on the division of labor section, I gathered the QR codes of the different websites.

Overall the project was a fun and enlightening experience, and we are rather happy with the results. We do have things to fix, mostly with citations and smaller errors, and we have found that the 360 videos have some technical issues with certain computers, but overall I am rather proud of what we accomplished, and bet that my group mates probably agree.



Week 14- Finished Project

We finished our project! Everything is now uploaded on to the website. All of the videos have closed captions, are on the hotspots page, and are within the 360 videos. Other pages, such as the 3D artifact project and Google Arts and Culture are also embedded within the 360.  The Timeline and StoryMap provide more information on Monroe and his life for retrospect. The voiceovers are all lined up on the videos, and integrated with music that the museum gave to us to use.  Everything is clean and nice looking on the website, and easy to use. We feel pretty good about our work and that we were able to get everything done in time. We were able to all get along with each other and produce a product that we are relatively proud of and feel has real contributing qualities to the museum.

Week 13

Our project is coming along nicely. We are working on powering through the film editing and overlaying the voice overs. I am currently working on closed captions, but I have to wait on most of them until the videos are done and have been posted to Youtube.

We also wanted to take past James Monroe projects, and create QR codes to their sites to be put around the museum as additional resources.  Most of them are from the James Monroe 3D site. I took the 12 artifacts that they did and made a code for each artifact page, as well as the main page. I also included a few other sites from the museum itself for added benefit.

We had originally planned to make the thumbnails on the Storymap pictures from the slides themselves, but after doing it I realized that the thumbnails are too close together, and making them pictures makes the map looked clustered. If i leave it as the default markers, the markers change color when you are on that slide. This is helpful is pinpointing which point’s location the slide is about, allowing for a better visual. It is because of this that I decided to change the thumbnails back to the default. The only thing left with the storymap and timeline is to finish the citations.

Week is a very interesting concept. I have never used it before, and I find it both strange and useful. Leaving comments on articles is very useful and something that I wish I knew I could do before this class. There have been plenty of times when I have wished that I could just write right on an online article. For class, we were each supposed to pick chapters  in which we, and a partner, were going to focus on reading and annotating that specific chapter. I did the collecting history online chapter part of the Digital history website. Much of the elements that were discussed in the chapter were out of date, with the latest mention of a date being 2006. So our task was to mark the areas that were no longer relevant or were out dated.

Week 11-Storymap

I finished the Storymap and uploaded it to the website. I just converted the Timeline information (which we got from the James Monroe website) into a physical local. It is a  bit shorter as many of the timeline points happened at the same places, so I just combined some of the timeline pages into single storymap pages. This actually makes it more concise and nicer when going through so that each page jumps to a new locations thumbnail. I also made the background the watercolor scheme, which I really like and am excited about. The only thing I am still working on for that is citing the sources for the pictures, which I will do in the next couple of days. We are also working on video editing and are waiting for the speaking center people to get back with the script and recordings of themselves.

Week 10

The biggest changes for historians in the digital age is the availability of resources online. Many sources, especially primary sources such as letters, are now online in digital archiving websites. Rather than journey to Boston or England or wherever to find the original copy of a source, you can just look at a photo copied version online. On the opposite side of this, any secondary work that a historian publishes, can sometimes be found more online, making the work more available to people, and thus more likely to be plagiarized. And though digital history means that more information is available to people to learn and access, it also means that such information isn’t always being checked for accuracies.

Another big change is the tools in which we can use to make information available or just teach the information to the person directly. Its probably safe to say that Microsoft and Powerpoints have completely changed how teachers teach in classrooms directly. It makes the information visible in a way that it wasn’t before.

I personally  think that the benefits of making knowledge available to people on a wider basis and at a deeper level, outweighs the downsides of plagiarism and false information. If students are given the tools to be able to accurately shuffle through the false information from the wrong information (as is seen more and more in teaching communities), that downside can be more or less made irrelevant. The problem now, as has been discussed, is that the technology is outpacing the implementation of methods of sifting through it, though that has been changing in recent years.

Week 9- 5 Lessons on Digital Identity

Lesson One: (from Make sure your familiar with a site, its community, and its settings before you sign up.
The more participation and productivity, the more present the sites and information will becomes.
Check, double check, and triple check your privacy settings.
One of the easiest ways to create a distinct identity for yourself on the Web is to create a Google profile page.
LinkedIn is more for business, academia is more for academics.

Lesson Two and Three: (from The easiest way to get rid of “digital dirt” is to create more of it until what you want to be seen overshadows that which you don’t.
If you want your digital identity to be attractive to employers;
Make your content useful.
If you cant delete it, smother it.
Avoid controversial content and posts. If you don’t like the idea of a certain person seeing it, or if it could have the potential to embarrass or harm, don’t put it out there.
Beware if there is someone who has the same name as you that could harm your reputation, and be prepared to explain that it is not you.

Lesson Four: (from Not only are the sites your visiting being tracked, but so is your physical movements on the page and on your computer.

Lesson Five: (from Expect unexpected audiences. Be prepared that those who are viewing your content, might not be who you’re expecting.
When leaving a comment on any site, be articulate and don’t say something that can be used against you. If you go on an inflammatory tirade just to troll people, it will come back to haunt you.

Week 8-Update

Last week we planned to meet with Jared and finish recording the videos of the last few objects to highlight for the 360 tour, unfortunately due to time conflicts we were unable to meet. However, this did not set us back in our timeline for getting things done. We are still on track in completing our objectives. When we met up this week we discovered that the website we planned to use for the hotspots (the embedded videos that would be within the 360 images) only offered a limited trial for free, and that if we wanted to continue to use it, we would have to pay about $20 a month. We played around with the idea of asking the Monroe Museum if they would be ok with paying for it, or if that didn’t work out, we tried to consider other options, such as not embedding the videos within the 360 images but rather having them separate. Luckily, right at the end of class, Lesya thought she discovered a website that could do the same thing, but was free. However, we ran out of class time, so Lesya said that she would look into it and get back to us.

Week 7-Google Maps

This week I decided to play around with My Maps in Google in order to familiarize myself with using it. I mapped the wineries that are along the Monticello wine trail around Charlottesville, VA and nearby areas. I then rated the wineries based on level of interest in visiting the locations. I rated each one and made comments on food, location, atmosphere, and Google reviews. I based this on information I got from Google and reviews of people who had visited in person, with the hope that I would be able to visit some of these wineries myself soon.
-The red markers are the wineries and the blue markers are the presidential houses nearby.

Week 6-Wikipedia and Creative Commons License

In regards to using creative commons or public domain for our project, at first we were thinking we would like to have it as public domain, but we would have to discuss it with the James Monroe Museum because we would be posting our project on their site and they have their own copyrights set in place already. Then we decided we would like to use attribution, so people would just have to mention that they got the information from us. It would be open to sharing pretty easily, but we would also get a bit of credit.

The Wikipedia tabs that display the changes over time and the details of who edited it and when is very interesting. I was not aware that such elements even existed on the site, or that it had a unique ability to recall to pages at a certain time. Its a very helpful way to see the creative process with each page and how the information displayed has evolved. These are just extra reasons why Wikipedia impresses me.