Skip to main content

Museums and the Web

An annual conference exploring the social, cultural, design, technological, economic, and organizational issues of culture, science and heritage on-line.

Laura Jernegan: Girl on a Whaleship

People's Choice:
2 votes


Martha's Vineyard Musem


Digital Gizmo




Home page from "Laura Jernegan: Girl on a Whaleship" A rare artifact, the journal of a young girl on a 19th century whaling voyage, acts as the centerpiece and entryway for this exhibition on the history of American whaling. Aimed at an audience of families and children, the website provides content in several ways, allowing visitors to explore the topic through narrative stories, and interactive features. They can delve more deeply into the topic by viewing and zooming in on artifacts and photos, discovering the roles of a whaleship’s crewmembers, reading biographies and essays and browsing a glossary. Images and artifacts from many institutions and individuals illustrate the content throughout the site. Lesson plans are included, as well as a bibliography.

A page from the narrative: "Laura 's Story"A page from the narrative, "Laura's Story".

Two parallel story narratives are presented, the general story of a 19th century whaling voyage and the personal story of Laura Jernegan and her family’s voyage from 1868 – 1871 aboard the whaler Roman. Each narrative links to and complements the other. They also feature links to glossary definitions, artifacts, crew descriptions and many illustrations.

 Interactive feature: "Explore Laura's Journal""Explore Laura’s Journal" is an interactive feature that presents the journal itself, allowing visitors to page through the original handwritten manuscript, or a text transcription, that includes links to glossary terms and artifacts. Visitors can also try the “Magic Lens”, which offers dynamic transcription or have the journal read aloud to them as if they were listening to Laura herself on board the Roman.

Interactive feature: "Explore the Ship"“Explore the Ship” is interactive feature that shows a sectional view of a whaleship enabling the visitor to get an inside view of all the spaces and crew members, with pop-up cards.

Interactive Feature: “Map of Whaling” “Map of Whaling” is an interactive map that lets visitors overlay information about whales and whaling on top of a map of the world to create their own map. The overlays include the route of Laura’s journey, typical whaling voyage routes, ports and sites that 19th century whalers frequented, whaling grounds and whale migration patterns, and major ocean currents.

The site includes two other interactive features are "About Whales," which tells about the six species of whales that were hunted by whalemen in the 19th century, and a "Timeline" covering major whaling events between the late 18th and mid-20th centuries.  

"Laura Jernegan: Girl on a Whaleship" is for people of all ages. Visitors can explore the topic of 19th century whaling in several ways and dive is as deep as they would like.