Museums and the Web 2005
Demonstrations: Description
Photo Credits

See museum applications demonstrated by the people who created them.

MoliNet: Museum and Library Objects in the Classroom

Kirsten Stiehm, University of Alaska Museum of the North, USA

Demonstration: Demonstrations - Session 1

This demonstration presents the development process and objectives of the University of Alaska Museum of the North (UA Museum) MoliNet Project as it approaches the half-way point.

The MoliNet Project is building an online catalog of object images from the UA Museum's Archaeology, Ethnology, and Fine Arts Collections. This catalog exists within a parallel-developed framework of library archival materials contributed by half a dozen major institutions across the state of Alaska. The Alaska Virtual Library and Digital Archive (ViLDA) is a web portal providing access to thousands of archival photographs and hours of video footage and audio recordings from the UAF Rasmuson Library, the Consortium Library Anchorage, the Alaska State Library, the Photographic Archives at the Anchorage Museum of History and Art, and the Seward Community Library Association. Bringing museum art, archaeology, ethnology, and educational media objects to ViLDA, MoliNet provides contemporary resources to a collection of chiefly archival and historic materials. The presentation of Museum objects along side highly accessible library materials brings museum objects front and center as researchable resources for primary, secondary, and college education.

To facilitate the use of ViLDA objects in an educational setting, the UA Museum of the North's MoliNet project has partnered with teachers across two Alaska School Districts to create LearnAlaska. LearnAlaska is a dynamic website that allows educators to create lesson plans by combining their selection of over 10,000 ViLDA objects (from historical photographs and maps to museum objects and contemporary video footage) with their own content for immediate use within the classroom. The tools to create a lesson are freely available and dexterous enough to permit a wide array of additional uses - allowing community members to share their unique perspective on the historical and contemporary objects within ViLDA, and educators to assign students LearnAlaska for research and presentation homework. Finally, LearnAlaska serves as an online repository for a selection of these community-curated lessons, so that other educators, students, and the general public can use and enjoy them.

Through LearnAlaska, the Molinet Project provides an effective, straightforward tool for educators to achieve their curriculum requirements and meet education standards teaching the arts and humanities in rural Alaska, and consequently expands the dedicated audience base of ViLDA. Currently, the museum is working with a pilot group of sixteen teachers from the Delta-Greely and Yukon-Koyukuk School Districts to develop the standards and procedures for statewide use of LearnAlaska for its official launch in June 2005.

MoliNet has been funded through the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications and Information Administration's Technology Opportunities Program and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.