Thinking about the past summons the grand octaves of history: empires and wars, social movements and setbacks, innovation and setbacks. But what about the history right in front of us? How do we see, preserve, and understand it in the context of the broader world of historical events?
Washington College recently unveiled its Digital Scholarship in Museum Partnerships (DSMP) program to show how rural museums can use digital enhancement, voice narratives, and mobile graphic panels to convey a multi-dimensional sense of local history.
The four-year project began in 2018, paused during the pandemic, was mentored by an interdisciplinary team of Washington College professors and scores of students.
Julie Markin, Chair, Associate Professor of Anthropology; Raven Bishop, Instructional Technologist; and Sara Clarke-DeReza, Assistant Professor of Education, worked with Betterton Heritage Museum, the African American Schoolhouse at Worton Point, Waterman’s Museum in Rock Hall, and Sumner Hall to create digital resources and design virtual reality exhibits for each partnership museum.
“DSMP a is a project where we partner with local Kent County museums to build virtual and augmented reality and other digital content to help preserve, interpret and amplify the tangible and intangible history and cultural resources the museums represent,” Bishops says.
For example, the DSMP team worked with Betterton Heritage Museum to create a digital library of over 4,200 images, three and a half hours of oral history interviews, and created a virtual reality tour of the museum with over 70 info buttons “to help patrons near and far engage with the museum’s collection.”
For Washington College students, DSMP is an opportunity to participate in a primary source history research and preservation project by applying curriculum studies to creating educational resources.
These technology-enhanced teaching materials may now be used as outreach resources for local school systems meeting state standards for the teaching of local history.
Imagine classroom students with virtual reality tools immersing themselves in every detail of a local museum from afar. It’s a gift to students of all ages and the community at large.
The Spy recently attended a DSMP presentation at Washington College and talked to Julie Markin, Raven Bishop, and Sara Clarke-DeReza.
This video is approximately eight minutes in length. For more about Digital Scholarship in Museum Partnerships, go here.