April 13-17, 2010
Denver, Colorado, USA

Demonstrations: Description

Combining Memory, Museums and Material Culture-Creating a New Digital Landscape for Naval History

Hill Goodspeed, Naval History and Heritage Command, USA
Karin Hill, Naval History and Heritage Command, USA
Gary Petersen, National Naval Aviation Museum, USA

In 2003, the Navy's twelve official Navy Museums across the country, which were historically operated on a regional level, were re-aligned under the Naval History and Heritage Command, the US Navy's official history program. With that re-alignment came responsibility for overall management of the individual Museum websites as well as for the official Command website, which had fallen into such a state of disrepair that it was no longer a functional tool for customers (the Navy and the general public.) In this session, presenters will discuss the many facets of the rebirth of the Naval History and Heritage Command website ( and subsequent and ongoing initiatives to create a resource that combines the Navy's material collections, archives, museums, and libraries into a dynamic virtual resource. Karin Hill will discuss the ongoing revitalization of the Naval History and Heritage Command website, including the challenges to creating, from scratch, a back-end database and overall design for a site that includes data on 1,000,000 material objects, outreach programs, 12 nation-wide Navy museums, extensive archive collections on all areas of naval history and the Navy's library. Gary Petersen will discuss the applications of virtual collections in the Navy museum world to greater international audiences. Hill Goodspeed's presentation will examine the confluence of several Navy museum virtual projects in support naval commemorations throughout the country.

What is interesting about this overall project is the team/committee approach to renovating the website and creating new history resources for the public. This approach stretches across the entire naval history enterprise, and has created new opportunities for history professionals to interact with the public through a combination of social networking, web content creation, web design and museum interactives. The emphasis on involving the entire enterprise in this initiative allows for multiple digital projects to take place simultaneously, many of which tie into one another and allow the Naval History and Heritage Command to reach national and international audiences as it never has before.

Demonstration: Demonstrations - 1 [Close Up]

Keywords: navy, aviation, commemoration, history, museum, education