Reflective Essay

I am pleased with my overall product, but not for reasons people may think. I am just thankful my thoughts were able to be made into something other people could actually utilize. I originally was going to use Omeka for my semester long project, but what changed my mind was the week of student digital tool presentations. I remember one student had storymap as a tool to present and the example that he displayed was of Game of Thrones. I thought that looked so cool and I was told that the only way that I would have been able to use storymap was through a site like scalar. I thought about switching, but I was afraid because of how difficult everyone was saying scalar was, but I really really wanted to use the storymap and embed it into my project. I was in the library and decided to play around with scalar to see if it would be possible to actually create a functional site and it was crazy at first because it truly was frustrating to use. After just messing around I figured out how to use it and I got to work. Although storymap inspired me, I didn’t even use it in the end. I already had an idea of how I wanted my site to look, but in order to really get started. I mapped out my site on paper. I wanted an introduction page and four main Louisiana genres. I looked up Louisiana genres and the internet actually gave me some genres that I knew were not true Louisiana genres, so I chose my own. The genres that I chose were the most interesting and I knew that I would be able to find some really cool pictures to bring my site to life. I originally wanted to do an archive type project, but by the end it apparently turned into a digital exhibit. I learned so much about scalar that now I can make some pretty cool sites and I can use it for future projects. What I do like about my site is that it actually does look kind of cool. From class I learned that aesthetics are definitely not everything, but scalar allowed me to easily make the site look cool just through pictures. My site has a pretty simple layout and it follows what I wrote down. The only thing that I did not add while planning the site was my about section. Overall I would say that my project is really informative and also interactive which I did not plan. The public can now see just how special and amazing Louisiana and its artists are all in one place. I actually enjoyed researching all of the information that I included because it made me even more proud to be a musician in Louisiana. There were two well-known swamp pop artists that were from my hometown and I was so stoked about finding that out. The content of my site is all either from the special collections at my library or from the artists bio pages online. I was even able to make my own personal URL which makes accessing my site pretty simple. Overall, I really enjoyed making my project and the final product is something that I want to share with the world.

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Vermilionville (Physical Public History Site Write-Up)

For my physical history site, I chose Vermilionville, a living history museum in Lafayette, Louisiana. I actually visited when I was younger, but everything seemed so different recently. I actually thought it was super huge when I was younger, and it’s not super tiny now, but being older and exploring on my own made the experience completely different. I was about 7 when I visited and it was one of our elementary school field trips. I felt like a kid again except I took lots of selfies.

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Here I am at the Attakapas Chapel. I went on a Sunday so I had my own little service an everything! I even sung songs and the acoustics were awesome!! The way that this museum is set up is very interesting. There are workers who dress like the Acadians did when the buildings on the site were built. For each building there are detailed write-ups both on the outside and inside  for you to read about the past while walking around the buildings.

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For example this was the Attakapas chapel’s write-up and it actually had some really interesting information. It explained the building was a reproduction based on St. Francis Catholic Church in Point Coupee. It also explained that the Catholic Church was the only church recognized by the French and the Spanish in Louisiana during the colonial period. Each write-up had valuable information that was easy for a visitor to understand. Vermilionville is also very kid friendly which is why it’s a super cool place to go to for a field trip. In the Dancehall there is even recent history bonus about some of Louisiana’s great musicians like Michael Doucet and Clifton Chenier.

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I enjoyed visiting this museum and the workers were very informed allowing me to get information both orally and from reading. Walking around an actual museum and taking pictures and actually being able reenact some things is one of the reasons I believe some people prefer physical museums over online museums. I realize though that you can enjoy both for different reasons. I’ve come to find that I enjoy online museums where information is presented as though I’m reading a really cool picture book. That may sound a bit childish, but I do enjoy a good informative, yet fun book. Vermilionville is definitely one of my favorite museums and I plan on bringing my niece and nephews here in the future.

Abraham Lincoln: An Extraordinary Life (Online Exhibition Site Write-Up)

I love anything Abraham Lincoln and while searching for an online exhibition the title stuck out to me. It was very cool to see that the exhibition was created by the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. The exhibition basically walked you through Abraham Lincoln’s life just like how the title suggests and it did a great job of doing so. The sections of his life were placed in order sort of like a timeline which made it very easy to follow. I felt as though I reading a very informative picture book. In regard to evaluating the site as a piece of digital scholarship, I believe that it met the requirements. The website functioned well and had all of the appropriate plug-ins necessary for it to work properly. All of the pictures on the site were credited and sourced and I expect nothing less from the Smithsonian. The information provided was spot-on not only from personal research, but also visiting other exhibits that were about President Lincoln. The site definitely advances knowledge of the President and contributes to advancement of his history. The site could be used as a teaching tool because it is very easy to get around and not difficult to find. Its accessibility is great. The site isn’t overwhelming either. The information is just right and it is written so that the general public would be able to comprehend everything quite well. This exhibition seems that it will have a great impact and will be around for a very long time and not just because it’s by the Smithsonian. It really is a great site and I would recommend it to anyone. I’ve read some pretty boring write-ups on President Lincoln, but I read them because I am a huge fan of his. This site’s writers are great because nothing is boring about the information that they chose to include and condense. If I could rate this online exhibit, I’d give it a 10/10.Abraham Lincoln: An Extraordinary Life

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