Today me and Joe went back to the North Texas Museum to research more into the archives. We had a game plan. Joe would find images of Call field so we could add images to our timeline and conference presentation and I would find newspapers and other information about the Spanish Flu. The archives had a plethora of photos of Call Field. In the collection of photos of Call Field there are several air shots. The photos showed the landing strip and the surrounding areas but we did not find any of modern day photos. I really wanted a compare and contrast photos so I called my dad. My father is a United State Air Force pilot of 30+ years and is friend with a lot of independent pilots. He managed to get in contact with some of his friends who are willing to fly Joe and I up to take some pictures of Call Field! Sometimes being a historian has its perks!
The archives also had some amazing newspaper references that include the Spanish Flu. The public library is willing to let me pick up copies of the full article. I have plans to go down to the public library and find those articles along with the heritage of some of Wichita Falls famous families.
After class on Friday, Joe and I made some necessary decisions in regards to our future website. The first thing we both agreed upon was that our website needed to have a navigation bar on every page of our site. This will avoid the hassle of constantly pushing the back button. We also decided that our main page will have several topics across the navigation bar that include: Call Field, Spanish Flu, Map, Time Line, Famous Families (of Wichita Falls), Oil Boom, and Bloopers. Because Joe and I are writing an academic paper for several conferences and we discussed possibly placing a link to the paper along with a list of names of the cities we went to.
We also decided to go back to the archives before class on Wednesday and get information and resources to start putting our paper together. Because the community has met us with such enthusiasm, almost all the resources we could ever think of is available to us. Joe recently received access to all the newspapers and articles during that era along with access to certain special collection resources. I am being to see this project take form and I am so excited to start putting all the pieces together.
Joseph and I headed out the other day to do some field work. Previously discussed was three locations we were going to hit to film some videos, take some pictures, and start gathering some materials for our website and timeline.
The first place we recorded was at Lake Wichita. This was the location of Wichita Falls night life during World War One along with the first recorded case of the Spanish Flu. We had to climb this giant dirt hill in order to get a clear view of the lake. The dirt hill felt like a mile high hike! But we eventually made it up to the top. The Wichita Falls Lake is pretty dry, here in the Falls we have been in a five year drought. However, this is historically accurate because during the Great War Wichita Falls was experiencing historic droughts as well. The lake is almost the exact same water level today as in back during the 1910s. After recording the videos Joe took some picture which are visible on his blog. We then almost died descending the hill but got our leg workouts in for the year.
The second location was at the last remaining building from the air base Call Field. The building was in the back of a day care. Joe and I were given permission to video out by the building. In order to get outside however, we had to walk by a bunch of sleeping toddlers. The building was used as a stable while in use at Call Field. Every other building around the stable has been torn down and the materials were used to create other things. Call Field is currently the location of several neighborhoods and stores.
The last place we recorded was at the location where the entrance of Call Field would have been. Currently the location is the site of many businesses include a local sushi restaurant know as Wasabi. After recording our videos Joe and I decided to go an grab some sushi for lunch. This was my first experience at fieldwork and it did not disappoint!
This week was a challenge for me. With my semester starting I’ve been adjusting to a new schedule and time. I ended up dropping a class and adding another which is a lot more stressful then I thought it would be. Nonetheless, I looked forward to completing the newest assignment which was to make a Google Maps. At first, I had a mini panic attack because I had no idea how to make a Google Maps and the knowledge of the site was limited to searching for the nearest Chipotle in Arlington. In order to better understand the site I googled how to make a google maps (thank the Lord Almighty for Google!) and found very helpful step by step instructions. The process was fun and as I plugged in important locations in Wichita Falls and added layers and layers of information I began feeling like someone from the Geek Squad at Best Buy. I really liked the bird’s eye visual of all the important locations at the time. Joe and I have been researching and visiting all the sites but never really thought about the locations in relation to one another. I placed in our Google Maps old locations that do not exist anymore as well as newer ones such as where we live and MWSU. I really enjoyed this assignment and think my map will have a place on our website as soon as I update the site and add some other features.
This week I looked into some other digital archives in order to hopefully get some ideas for my website. While looking into the websites and exploring certain features I certainly learned a lot about the importance of simplicity and visual appeal.
The first site I looked into was Valley of the Shadow. The original page was pretty simple and told the reader what to expect from the site. After I clicked on the link to navigate me to the archives the site became separated into three sections, before, during and after the war. Originally I liked the site but as I dove in deeper and explored I became frustrated that there was not a navigation option in order for me to return to the main page. I had to constantly be clicking the back arrow. I did like the pictures of the people and the individual letters that the site offered. I really enjoy the human aspect of history and to read how and what people thought about during this time was very fascinating.
The second site was my favorite out of all the sites. The Gilded Age Murder was amazing. I loved the visual appearance right away. The soft gold in the back ground followed by the darker gold was a good contrast and gave the eyes something interesting to look like. There were several links and interactive maps and options. Another aspect of the website I liked was the navigation bar that followed you where you went on the site so you could easily return home. This site reminded me a lot of what our reading mentioned about being an architect. The designers of the site considered the purpose and audience of this site and did not focus on one aspect in particular. A wide variety of details were considered and the results were an interesting and fun website to visit.
The third website I visited was French Revolution. I did not like this site at all. The harsh red colors overwhelmed my eyes. The website was not updated to fit the modern day computer systems and the links were placed in unflattering areas such as in the middle of people’s head. I looked at the cover page and immediately left.
I learned a lot from searching these archives and I took note of everything I liked and did not like. The one thing that became very apparent however was how much work I want to put into this website. To create a site that is both simply and visual will take a lot of behind the scene work, but I never back down from a challenge!