UMW–Hylan, Roland, Tams, Wood

Century America Group Contract
Jack Hylan, Candice Roland, Leah Tams, Julia Wood
Project Site: http://umw.centuryamerica.org/

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Mission

Our mission is to research and exhibit the narrative of the World War I homefront experience at the State Normal School and in the Fredericksburg area through the creation of a digital history site. The website will function primarily as an educational exhibition rather than as an archive, though it will contain digitized primary source materials. The exhibition will be useful to academics and local researchers, though primarily designed for a UMW audience and those generally interested in the time period or homefront experience. Accessibility for a broad audience outside academia will be central to the creation of the site’s design and written narrative.

 

This project will be part of a larger exploration of the homefront experiences of various schools during the Great War across the United States. This overarching project, Century America, is part of a course funded by COPLAC and the Teagle Foundation and includes eleven schools across the country in commemoration of the hundredth anniversary of the Great War. The UMW group will create the home page for the overall project that will introduce each individual school and explain the purpose of the project. Our mission is to both design and create the overall Century America site and to create a digital exhibition on the experience of our school and town.

 

Tools

 

To create the home site for the Century America project, we will use WordPress for compatibility with the majority of the COPLAC sites. The theme we are experimenting with and hope to use is called “Matheson.” The home page for the Century America site will be a basic introduction to the project, with links to each school’s site through an interactive map. We have contemplated creating the national map using Maps Alive, an interactive web service that can be embedded and accessed by anyone who views our website (we would have to pay $25 to embed the map), but Julia is talking with her Geography/GIS professors to try and find an alternative option for us. A comprehensive timeline featuring significant events from each school’s history and the broader history of the war and epidemic will be on a separate page, so that we do not have too many interactive elements on the home page. The home page will have a link to the timeline, centrally located above the interactive map. We will create the timeline in Timeline JS that records national/international events of WWI, as well as the 5-10 most important events at each school, so deemed by each student’s judgment.

 

We will use WordPress to create the UMW site of the Century America project, preferring this platform for its diversity in layout and easy customization. The theme we have chosen is called “Parabola” for its flexibility and range of customization options. It is currently installed on our website. We propose to use a cohesive logo element in each school’s site, providing unity while allowing for flexibility regarding the COPLAC class as a whole. Each page for the UMW/SNS website will have the same menu bar at the top, which will include a link to an “About” page. The About page will contain general information about the project, its sponsors, and its creators, and it will link to the Century America site that we are creating. Another link in the menu bar will be “Further Resources,” which will include brief information about and links to the places (and their websites) where we found most of our sources.

 

Upon entering the State Normal School website, the visitor will first come to a homepage, which will be visually engaging and feature images, quotes, and other media to introduce the site and communicate why the project is important enough for them to continue into its two main sections. They can choose between the State Normal School or the City of Fredericksburg. This option will be further down the introduction page, and will be selected by clicking a picture. They will be side by side. This page will likely feature a map from the time period, or another interactive element.

 

From this point, either choice will take them to a page with each of the subcategories available to them. These topics will likely be designated with an image. (For instance, to read the Knox Family story the visitor would click on a picture of the Knox family.) Each image will have a caption and alt text, in case the image does not load for the user. Within each subcategory, the page will feature a significant quote that captures the essence of the narrative we wish to communicate about the school or town’s WWI experience through that particular source.

 

Fredericksburg Subcategory

For most of the subcategories under the Fredericksburg parent page, an interactive timeline on each page will allow viewers to quickly get a sense of the scope of the story before reading a concise narrative and viewing images (the images will supplement the narrative). On the home Fredericksburg page, resources from the Virginia War History Commission will provide a general overview of the homefront experience in Fredericksburg during the war. The Mary Eastburn diaries will also add to the general Fredericksburg narrative on its main page.  Then the visitor will have the option of looking at several focused categories: the Knox Family, the Rowe Family, Urbane Bass, and the Influenza Epidemic. Family collections with letters are the primary source material for the two three sections, while the Fredericksburg Daily Star newspaper provides the primary source material for the flu section. The narrative for Urbane Bass, a black Army doctor and Fredericksburg resident, draws from several sources, including the Virginia War History Commission, photographs, and newspaper articles.

 

Fredericksburg State Normal School

For the State Normal School, the focus will be on depicting a holistic student experience during the war years, focusing on the impact of the war and influenza while still including details that do not directly relate to either event. The State Normal School section of the website will include pages on Administration, Academics, Student Life, and the Influenza Epidemic. The Administration section will focus on the activities of and changes within the SNS faculty/staff/admin.  The Academics page will focus on the changes in course offerings and curricula during the war.  The Student Life category will discuss various student clubs, organizations, and other activities, perhaps including humorous quotes from the yearbooks.  We plan to focus particularly on the Rifle Club, whose founder served overseas, and the Red Cross and YWCA clubs, which participated in the war effort. However, we by no means limit ourselves to these three clubs. The primary sources that we will use to construct the State Normal School sections are: President Russell’s Papers, other administrative collections, academic catalogs and bulletins, student scrapbooks, yearbooks, and several other items held in UMW Special Collections.

Milestones

 

  • February 20: Create subdomain of centuryamerica.org and install WordPress

  • February 27: Complete all research and finalize what will be included in the final site

    • A detailed site outline will be completed to finalize layout and design.

  • March 13: Collect all images and digitize all documents that will be included in the final site

    • For the content related to the Knox family and Mary Eastburn diaries, we need the CRHC to digitize images for us–they will not allow us to digitize the images ourselves. We are currently in contact with CRHC staff, trying to resolve the matter. If, however, we are denied digitized materials, we do not foresee it being a big problem. The Mary Eastburn materials are tied in to the general Fredericksburg narrative, so we can supplement that with other images. For the Knox family, we plan to go downtown and take pictures of the former Knox home, if the CRHC will not digitize materials from that collection.

  • March 20: All text for website will be complete for final project

    • Each individual will be responsible for the text on individual pages (described below).  All group members will contribute to the text on the home page.

  • March 27: Preliminary Century America homepage published

    • Everyone in the group will contribute to the creation of this site.  Candice and Julia will make the interactive map showing the different schools who are participating, and Leah and Jack will create the timeline of events.

    • This site will be created in WordPress (see above “Tools” section).

  • April 3: Complete website draft published

  • April 10: Test website on other members of ADH and Century America, and friends who might not be familiar with digital history.

  • April 17: Complete any changes necessary and finalize website.

  • April 24: Final website in finished form and turned in.

 

Distribution of Labor

 

Each individual is responsible for attending a weekly group meeting.  This meeting will take place every Wednesday at the Simpson Library from 3 to 5 pm, unless changed/cancelled by the group as a collective.

 

Each individual will be responsible for scanning and configuring content for the pages of the site for which they are responsible (described below). Additionally, the labor will be divided by use of tools such as timelines and maps (described below). Tasks not specifically assigned to one person will be the shared responsibility of all group members.

  • Subject Matter

    • Leah and Julia will be responsible for the creation of the Fredericksburg State Normal School homepage.

    • Jack and Candice will be responsible for the creation of the Fredericksburg city homepage. Jack will be responsible for the research and display of the Eastburn Diaries on this page. This responsibility will possibly include digitizing the diaries (depending on what the CRHC will allow). The timeline on this page will include, but will not be limited to, events from the diaries.

    • Leah will be responsible for the research of Academics and Student Life at the State Normal School. She will determine what materials will be digitized for these sections and what general conclusions and narratives these sections will include. Leah will also be responsible for compiling information for the “Further Resources” page, which will include brief summaries and links to the institutions/resources.

    • Jack will be responsible for the Urbane Bass section of the Fredericksburg City subcategory.  He will also be responsible for the Influenza Epidemic page for the Fredericksburg State Normal School.  He will determine what materials will be digitized for these sections and what general conclusions and narratives these sections will include.

    • Candice will be responsible for the research regarding the Knox family of Fredericksburg, including letters of correspondence between the parents and the sons who served overseas.  She will also be compiling information regarding the influenza epidemic in the Fredericksburg community. Candice will also be responsible for creating the “About” page for the website.

    • Julia will compile the research for the Rowe family of Fredericksburg, including letters home from Josiah P. Rowe, Jr. during his service abroad.  For this section, she will digitize letters and images from the Rowe family as necessary to provide an image of homefront life in the Fredericksburg community.  She will also contribute to the Administration at the State Normal School by reading through President Russell’s papers and digitizing aspects that are especially helpful in portraying how the State Normal School was operated during the war.

  • Website Creation

    • WordPress: All individuals will have knowledge of WordPress and contribute to the creation of the site.

    • Timelines: All

    • Plugins: Jack

    • Maps with Maps Alive (or possibly another platform–see above “Tools” section): Candice and Julia

      • Though this map will not be spatial, its primary purpose will serve to showcase where each of the participating schools from the Century America course are located.  This map will be embedded within the home page for the overall course site.

      • We can demo this map to the COPLAC group before March 27.

    • Each student will be responsible for creating the pages for their respective subcategories.

    • Each group member is responsible for tweeting about the project, but Leah will extensively tweet (and on occasion text) the group’s progress.

  • Advertising/Marketing

    • Towards the end of the project we will extensively publish information about the website and project by using various platforms of social media such as Twitter and Facebook.

    • We will contact various news outlets to try and publish an article about the site and project. These news outlets will include, but are not limited to: The Free-Lance Star, The Bullet, and the UMW News Letter (EagleEye).

    • Flyers and handouts are a possibility depending on resources. They will be handed out and hung around the Fredericksburg and UMW communities to inform and bring awareness to the project.

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