Museums and the Web

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

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Right on Lake Street


Conference: 
MW2008
Institution: 
Minnesota Historical Society: Minnesota History Center
Designer: 
In-House Team
Why: 

'Right on Lake Street' is a collaborative exhibit developed by the Minnesota Historical Society (MHS) and Macalester College (macalester.edu), with design work provided by In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre (hobt.org). The exhibit, on display at the Minnesota History Center from September 2007 to March 2008, tells the story, past and present, of Lake Street, one of Minneapolis? most diverse and ever-changing streets. Macalester students conducted research projects that engaged residents and organizations on Lake Street. HOBT incorporated the research into colorful papier-mache, felt, fabric, wire models that re-imagine historic and contemporary buildings and the lives of the people who enriched them. You can learn more about the exhibit at www.mnhs.org/lakestreet. This MW2008 nomination is for the online presence that complements the physical exhibit. The online presence has two parts ?an online tour called www.mnhs.org/21A and a semantic wiki www.mnhs.org/lakestreetwiki which is part of placeography.org Both of these web sites are accessible on a kiosk in the physical exhibit and on the World Wide Web to serve people who have a connection to Lake Street. The goals for the project are: 1) Provide a fun, engaging, online complement to the physical exhibit that repurposes the research and content gathered, so it can be provided to both on-site and online visitors. The online presence provides content that can not be presented in a limited physical space. 2) Provide a way for users to contribute content additional history, stories or memories. 3) Provide links back to the neighborhood councils, businesses and other organizations along Lake Street. www.mnhs.org/21A The student research was re-purposed into www.mnhs.org/21A an online whimsical, funky trip through the heart and history of Minneapolis' most vibrant neighborhood. Visitors travel down a virtual Lake Street and click on hot spots on buildings to explore their history through recorded memories, then and now photos, links to more photos in the Society?s photo and art database. The ?Share a Memory? button on each hot spot links to a placeography.org wiki entry for that place. Placeography.org ? Right on Lake Street Placeography.org is a semantic wiki where anyone can share the history and stories about a house, building, farmstead, public land, neighborhood or any place to which they have a personal connection. Using the Macalester student research, an article was created on the wiki for each of the places featured in ?Right on Lake Street.? Because of the collaborative nature of a wiki, anyone can be a historian -- visitors may collaborate on the history of a place either by providing historical facts about it, or sharing stories and memories. The Lake Street places are grouped together into a wiki ?project? titled ?Right on Lake Street? (a link is available on the left hand navigation.) After the physical exhibit is no longer on display, the stories of Lake Street will live on through the wiki. Since a semantic wiki is being used, it is easy to generate pages for all the places in a particular city/locality, county/parish, or state/province. The semantic-ness of the wiki will enable other web content aggregators to find information about these places. Opportunities for Re-Use In addition to allowing visitors to share their connection to places, placeography.org provides infrastructure for complementing future exhibits about places, regardless of what cultural institution presents the exhibit because it was built to provide a collaborative workspace for sharing the history of places in any state or province. Wiki ?projects? such as ?Right on Lake Street? can be created for other place-oriented exhibits. Recommended Pathway Visit http://www.mnhs.org/21a Note: '21A' is the bus route number along Lake Street. 1) Click on the bus-board titled 'Lake Street in 56 Seconds'; you'll see a 56 second movie of the view from the bus as it goes down Lake street. This is an excerpt of a movie that is shown in the physical exhibit. 2) Cruise/explore Lake Street. The section titles on the bottom bring you to places along the six mile stretch. Each major section is sub-divided by significant intersections. 3) As it cruises down the street, 'catch' a bus, streetcar, or car. 4) Explore the places by clicking on hot spots. The places with angel wings, shown in B&W have been demolished. 5) Explore the Town Talk Diner which has audio clips of patron memories. Click on the section titled Hiawatha to Mississippi, then, 6) Click on the 27th Ave. label, then 7) Click on the Town Talk Diner building. View the photos, listen to patron memories audio clips. 8) Click the Share a Memory button. 9) You'll now be on the placeography.org wiki. Read through the history of this place. Leave a memory if you wish. 10) In the Badges section, click on the 'Right on Lake Street' link. This will take you to the 'project' page for the exhibit. 11) Explore the project page and other places if you wish. The Schatzlein's Saddle Shop and Sears Building entries have some good examples of user contributions.

Nominated By: 
Year: 
2008