This week has been extremely productive, exciting, and paralyzing all at the same time. However, I can at least say for our group that the paralysis is at a minimal level. For the productive and exciting side of the project we have found a treasure trove of resource that are vital to our research. Speaking for myself I can say that the resource we have found are perhaps the best so far and have filled many gaps in our project.
So this past Saturday, Leah and I went to Richmond, Va to explore the Goolrick Family papers at the Virginia Historical Society. As we read through the papers we found that most of the letters were from the Goolrick children who were writing back to their parents from various places in the country. It was a little disappointing that the papers did not contain any letters being sent from Fredericksburg from the parents that contained information on community activities and war efforts. However, the trip was far from a bust. One of the archivist at the VHS was able to find us a great secondary source for the project. She brought us a book that compiled every resource from the war effort imaginable into one book. The book contained sources from the Virginia War History Commission and outlined every effort, economical impact, and significant event the war had on local communities in Virginia. The book contained a total of seven pages on Fredericksburg specifically.
After reading through the pages on Fredericksburg we decided to try and find the original source material and see if there was an actual collection. We were in luck because we found the exact collection at the Library of Virginia, which was only a few miles from where the VHS is located. Once we arrived at the library we were able to immediately go through the material and find valuable information and content. We added a whole collection of material to our research, which has made this much more exciting than it already was.
As for the material itself we found letters from soldiers, list of individuals in Fredericksburg who helped in the war effort, and businesses located within the city that donated materials and merchandise the U.S. government. We found some stories of purchases of Liberty Bonds and newspaper clippings from the time period. We seriously could not be happier with this trip, especially after traveling to find buried treasure to actually find a mine filled with raw material yet to be used.
Additionally, beyond the research and amazing findings, we were able to meet as a group and discuss and develop a group contract for the project. After some dissemination we decided it was best to move from an Omeka based website to one that is powered by WordPress. We have found several professional themes that seem to go with what we want to do in terms of a layout. We have also moved forward with how we want to use the resources in the project. We have decided what we want to digitize and what we might want to digitize if it is applicable. Some of the tools we wanted to use have changed since we switched from Omeka to WordPress, such as the timeline tools we want to use. We now want to use the TimelineJS we were introduced to a few weeks ago instead of using Neatline. Overall we are very pleased were we are at this point and cannot wait to continue with the project.
The overarching site is coming along a little slower. Needless to say this portion of the project will develop more as the semester goes along and we come to a conclusion of what we want to include into the website.
Hopefully next week will be just as productive, exciting, and paralyzing as these past few days!