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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PhilaPlace to AnyPlace: Building a Reusable Community Platform for Mapping and Sharing History

Matthew Fisher and Stacey Mann, Night Kitchen Interactive; Kim Sajet, Historical Society of Pennsylvania; and Minda Borun, Museum Solutions, USA

Abstract

Recent advances in open-source technologies, advances in GIS mapping, and increased access to archival and community-curated content hold great potential for situating and visualizing the history of place in innovative ways. The 2010 launch of PhilaPlace, a collaborative and interactive community-oriented Web site, integrated two such open source solutions: Google Maps and Collective Access collections management system. Connecting stories to places across time throughout Philadelphia neighborhoods, PhilaPlace  supports a rich feature set that facilitates an interpretive mosaic of historical records as well as stories, photos, and video shared by ordinary people of all backgrounds to create an enduring record of collective heritage. Herein we explore how the open-source solutions and institutional partnerships for PhilaPlace might inform an AnyPlace approach to mapping and interpreting place-based historical narratives for communities and historical sites, with an eye towards issues of sustainability, institutional capacity, and the changing pace of technological innovation.

Keywords: place-based storytelling, GIS mapping, collective memory, crowdsourcing, open-source, iterative design

PhilaPlace to AnyPlace: Building a Reusable Community Platform for Mapping and Sharing History

Keywords: 
place-based storytelling
Keywords: 
GIS mapping
Keywords: 
collective memory
Keywords: 
community curation
Keywords: 
open-source
Keywords: 
iterative design
Abstract: 

Just as personal and collective memories imbue artifacts with significance, so it is with place. Launched in January 2010, PhilaPlace is a collaborative and interactive community-oriented Web site that connects stories to places across time throughout Philadelphia’s neighborhoods, creating an enduring record of collective heritage.

Type: 
Paper - in formal session