Museums and the Web 2005
Demonstrations: Description
Photo Credits

See museum applications demonstrated by the people who created them.

The USS Monitor Center Web Site

Chris DallaVilla, DallaVilla Design, LLC, USA
Anna Holloway, The Mariners' Museum, USA
Justin Lyons, The Mariners' Museum, USA

Demonstration: Demonstrations - Session 2

In April of 1861, the American Civil War was just getting underway in earnest and an arms race had begun. In the North they turned to John Ericsson, a Swedish-American inventor, for a revolutionary naval vessel with full iron construction and a rotating gun turret. During the epic Battle of Hampton Roads the ship cemented her place in the pages of history. Just less than a year after her completion however she sank in a wicked storm in the graveyard of the Atlantic. In 1975 the wreck site was designated the nation's first national marine sanctuary.

The Web Site, developed with support from Norfolk Southern, Northrop Grumman and Verizon, tells the story of the USS Monitor, this precedent setting ironclad naval vessel and a preeminent icon of U.S. Civil War history. In turn the Web Site supports interest and support for The USS Monitor Center scheduled to open in 2007 at The Mariners' Museum in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as a premier Civil War attraction to house the preservation of this pivotal piece of international naval history.

The Web Site features a core storytelling interactive designed and developed in Flash. The story is told in three 'acts'; Building The Ironclads, The Battle Of Hampton Roads and Sinking - The Final Voyage. Each act contains its own set of 'scenes' which include interactive maps, images and text, streaming video, narrative and in-depth components. The story can be traversed either in linear or non-linear fashion using several functions of the navigation system. Once a user completes the story they can opt to take an interactive Quiz where registering correct answers allows a user to build a model of the USS Monitor.

Two other interactive components work to round out the site's top-level architecture including the Geer Letters, which can be found in Life Aboard an Ironclad, and Electrolytic Reduction, which can be found in Preserving an American Icon. The Geer Letters allows a user to view and hear three different letters written by one crewman to his wife. It offers a remarkable glimpse aboard the ironclad and a rare perspective on one sailor's experience of the Civil War. Electrolytic Reduction shows how Conservators use low voltage electrical current and an alkaline bath to reverse the effects of sea water on submerged iron.

The rest of the Web Site is built on an information architecture that is easy to comprehend. History provides an in-depth look at the USS Monitor from inception to sinking. Resources lets users to take their research and curiosity to the next level with a comprehensive bibliography, teacher and student resources and links to other relevant destinations on the Web. Visitor Information and Exhibits & Events clearly allows a museum patron to plan their visit while Get Involved and Extra! Extra! provides different ways to stay actively involved. Finally, a system of 'cross promotional / content touts' allows a flexible system for updating the site experience with either new content or new promotions.