Final Review of Project


Now that I look at my final exhibit on Omeka, I realize that this was a HUGE project. I uploaded close 250 items online, and I organized them into a total of 19 web pages. It is such a relief to be done. Working with Omeka was not a easy, the database is great for storage but horrible to work with. I am super proud of the end result. Just going through that extensive exhibit really makes me feel like I accomplished something. In contrast, while I know that I have done a lot during my time at CMHEC, I have no final end results, just boxes that I did not get to. At least there is no result as nice the website that I created. It is a a nice visual representation of all the hours, and all of the work that I have put into the exhibit.

I am still concerned about how well I captured the physical exhibit in the online exhibit. I tried really hard to make sure that it felt like the physical exhibit that was on display at LUMA. I kept the general organization of each room, I included direction of where each item would be located, and I included images of the physical cases in LUMA so that people would have an idea of what the artifacts would look like on a display. I think what makes me worry is that we did not have all of the artifact (a lot of the literature), and those artifacts are not documented as indepth as others. However, with close 250 items, I would say that almost everything is there.

This entire semester I have been paralleling this project with my internship at CMHEC. The biggest different that I note is that my internship with CMHEC forced me to spread out the hours and the work. With the Crossings and Dwellings Exhibit, I was able to chose my own schedule and as such, I did a lot of the work at the beginning of the semester, and I did a lot of work towards the end of the semester. Of course, this was my own doing. I have always worked in intense bursts where I get a lot done, and then I do nothing for a period of time. That is how I have written almost all of my major papers. What I did like about this project is that I was able to blog, on big moments on the project, not on a weekly bases. When I blog for CMHEC, sometime I feel like the stuff I am writing about is trivial or repetitive. However, every blog with this project documents an important mile stone in the process of creating the exhibit. Hence, the majority of them are towards the end of the semester.

Its been interesting working on this project, and I am glad I did it. However, I am more glad that it is over!


Finished with Room 201 of the Crossings and Dwellings Exhibit

This room was by far the hardest and most extensive room to create. It was the biggest space in the exhibit, and because of that it contained the most artifacts and the most subthemes of any other room. To be quite honest that room alone deserved an online exhibit of its own.

Because room 201 was such a large room the online exhibit follows a slightly different format than the other rooms that I compiled together. Instead of organizing the room from left to right, I broke up into themes and went from there. So I begin with the theme Jesuits and Women Religious in the Midwest, then I move on to the Nicholas Point Exhibit, and I finish the room off with the Mapping of the Borderlands. Now even though there are only three themes each in told that amounted to nine pages on the online website, which is a lot. That would mean that the Room 201 is almost 50% of the online exhibit.

The part that I though would take up the most space actually ended up taken the least amount of space up, which was the Nicolas Point Exhibit. That portion alone has exactly 100 different items (80 images and 20 audio files) and I managed to condense those 100 items into two page of the online exhibit which I am actually proud off. After finishing Room 202 the exhibit and it themes have come together so I have decided to go back and label each page in accordance with the theme it represents.

It was a lot of work, but I am extremely happy that I have finished!

Reflection on Mapping of the Gallery

As this program comes to a close, I am reflected on this entire process, but especially the mapping of the exhibit. As continue to build the exhibit I feel like I would have mapped the exhibit differently.

What I should have done is mapped each room over the weekend, and then during the week I should have uploaded all of those images to Omeka, as soon as I walked out the exhibit, and make each room into its own separate collection on the site. Instead, of first mapping all of the images and locating them on the tumblr, and then doing a mass upload of the images.

Additionally, I have recently purchased a new laptop, and I really wish I had this laptop at the begin of the semester it would have made the mapping of the gallery far more simpler. The new laptop I have is the and HP, with a key board that detaches. So it basically converts to 12″ tablet. If i had, had this laptop, while the LUMA exhibit was still open, I would have taken it to the exhibit. I would have walked around the exhibit with it, and tried to locate the artifacts in each room on the tumblr, and just uploaded them on the spot. I think this would have been a far more efficient way to map the gallery, and would have facilitated the exhibit building on Omeka.

However, this is all just a what if situation.

Finished Room 205

Last night I finished Room 205. I have stuck with my plan and left Room 202 as my last room. I will hopefully be able to finish that room tonight. Room 205 was an extremely simple room for me to make. So simple that it makes me worry that I did not do enough for it. I feel like Room 205 is the antithesis to Room 202, just because Room 202 is going to be the most elaborate section of the online exhibit

Room 205 focuses on women, and women’s education in the 20th century. However, Professor Schlosser collaborated on this room with Loyola Women and Leadership Archives, and they are the ones who really put that room together. Since, it was the Women and Leadership group who put that room together in the exhibit we do not have images of the individual art. If you remember, almost all of the artifacts that were in the LUMA exhibit had been uploaded to a tumblr, which is where I grabbed them from and added them to Omeka.

I went hunting through the archives that Loyola has put together over the years to see if I could find some of the artifacts that are in the room, and I did manage to find a couple. It really was only a like three artifacts, I do believe. I am going to go back and see if I can find some of the images of Mundelein again, but I don’t think I will be able to find them.

So, Since I did not have a lot to go off of in this room, I ended up using the overview that was shown in the exhibit, and using pictures that captured the general layout of the room. The pictures look something like this:

Picture courtesy of Myles Ostrowski

Hopefully, that will be enough to keep the integrity of the room.

Finished Room 201

So, for the most part I have been doing this exhibit on my own. I honestly thought that I would be getting more input on my work. However, that hasn’t been the case, and for the most part I really like it. This has honestly been an independent project, which has been a good experience for me, since I am graduating this semester.

I have finished on of the larger rooms of the exhibit, Room 201. It is the first room in the entire exhibit, so it sets up the tone for the rest of the exhibit. I was right when I said that this room would require 5 pages. There were a lot of artifacts in the room, and the Blaeu Globes, which were in the room, also required there own page, just because they were such a big aspect of the exhibit.

I do believe that this has been the best room that I created, probably because I have already had practice with the first two rooms that I finished. I am now going to go back to the other two rooms, and tweak them a little bit, since the exhibit is finally coming together. Now that i can see the bigger picture with the exhibit, I know have a better idea of how I want each individual page to look. It has also made it clear to me that I am going to leave Room 202 for last, just because it is going to be the most complicated room, and is probably going to be far more time consuming.

Instead, I am going to finish Room 205, the last room in the exhibit. This room should actually be pretty easy because it does not have as many artifacts as the other rooms do. So we will see how it goes.

Finished two rooms of the exhibit

I have pretty much finished two room in the Omeka exhibit. I started off with the rooms I believed would be the simplest to compile. The rooms were room 203 and Room 204. It was not to difficult to compile each room, just time consuming.

To build an exhibit, I just drag items that I have already uploaded to Omeka, into a new spot and I add a caption about the artifact. At first I created the exhibits with pretty lengthy captions that gave information about the artifact. However, this would become a very cluttered and would become too much. So instead each artifact now has a simple caption that includes the title of artifact and a simple fact about it.

Something that I am really worried about is that Omeka is easy enough to navigate when you are trying to create a page from scratch, however, Omeka does not lend itself to editing. So, if I ever wanted to change something from of the pages, there is a good chance that I would have to start all over, and that would make things very time consuming.

Before when I said that I thought each room would ideally be 2 pages on Omeka, I was being way to optimistic. Room 203, which is one of the smallest rooms in the exhibit, took up three pages. So, I am starting to think that Rooms 201 and 202 will take anywhere from 5-6 pages, meaning that this Omeka exhibit is going to be pretty comprehensive.

Building the Exhibit

Building the exhibit on Omeka is going to be a lot of work. There is going to be a lot of artifacts that I have to organize, while at the same time keeping the general feel of the exhibit.

My plan to build the exhibit is to dedicate pages to each individual room in the Exhibit. There were fiver rooms in the Exhibit. It would be ideal if could condense each room to two pages. However, I doubt I will be able to do that, especially for the first room and the second room of the exhibit. Both of those room have a large quantity of artifacts, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I have to dedicate four or more pages to each exhibit.

The organization the exhibit is simple, the different pages of the exhibit will most likely be titled the room number they represent from the LUMA exhibit, such Room 201. I will begin each room by starting at the right of each entrance and working my way counter-clockwise around the each room. Each page will hopefully represent 1-2 walls of each room, or if there is a large case, a case from the room.

I am exited to to see how this all turns out.

Finishing up uploading to Omeka

The uploading process has been a tedious one, but I am almost done.

It has mostly been tedious because each individual artifact that was on display in the exhibit requires a lot of information to be attached with it, in order to make the online exhibit as comprehensive as possible. I haven’t quite finished uploading everything yet though. I have put off uploading a lot of artifacts from the second room. Mostly collection of images that were sketched by Nicholos Point.

An exhibit for the Nicholos Point images has already been created by another Loyola student, Liam Brew, with descriptions and audio included. You can view the exhibit here. Its a great exhibit. My problem is that the collection of images contations probably close to 80 pictures and I am still not sure how i want to incorporate them into the online exhibit. In the exhibit at LUMA they had been grouped together in large frames by theme, and I want to keep that way. At the same time I want to incorporate the narration that was created by Liam into the exhibit. However, all of this is a lot of information, that might overpower the online exhibit, and some of the really important themes could be lost. So I am going to hold off on uploading them until I get a better feeling for the general format of the exhibit.

Now that I have spent so much time uploading the images I am actually excited to begin to create the exhibit on Omeka.

Exhibit Closing and Finally done with Mapping

On October 19th the exhibit officially closed, and I officially finished with the mapping of the Gallery! having the exhibit closed was actually pretty nerve-racking, because I will forever feel like missed or forgot something important. Thankfully, Myles’s pictures document the whole exhibit, and its layout.

The weekend that the exhibit closed I went back and made sure that I had everything in exhibit. So i was super careful with dotting Is and crossing my Ts. As I was looking over everything I had that weekend I noticed three things: 1) in terms of having all of the artifacts I hadn’t missed any (YAY me), 2) I had a lot of artifacts 3) Even though I had a lot of artifacts and pictures, I was still missing a lot. There are a lot of books that haven’t been uploaded to the tumblr, and that fourth room really is non-existent in terms of online documentation. I am not so worried about the fifth room, as I am about the books.

In almost every room there are collections of books that I don’t have any information, nor pictures. I do have Myles’s “general” pictures of the case, which are awesome and tend to look like this

But, I don’t have individual pictures oft the books, and I don’t have (somewhat lengthy) explanations that accompany the books, so I am going to have to talk to Professor Roberts and Schlosser to see what they want me to do with those cases.

However, what I will be focusing on is what I do have, and I have a lot. So it’s time for Omeka!

Starting to Upload to Omeka

Now that the exhibit is closed and I have finished all of the mapping. I have to begin to upload to Omeka. The process of Uploading is fairly easy, however, it is extremely time consuming.

Omeka is pretty much on online site where you can store everything. From what I can tell the site has been designed to be a somewhat convenient way to store exhibits online. However, this site is not meant to be a pretty or visual awe-inspiring, it’s actually pretty bland, and not at all what i expected. When I first learned about Omeka I thought it would be a site that allowed views to be a lot more interactive, and that allowed designers to be a lot more creative. However, it is not.

Like I said before, Omeka is great site to store all of your information in one place, but it is not very user friendly. Before I even begun to upload my own pictures to Omeka there were already over 300 pictures on Omeka that corresponded to the Crossings and Dwellings exhibit. So i had to go through all of the 300+ pictures to see what artifacts were already there, and I had to go through all of them, there really was no efficient way of doing. Out of the 300+ images of artifacts that had been uploaded there were about 20 artifacts that were actually in the exhibit, so that leaves me about 140 artifacts that I have to upload myself.

My plan is to begin uploading images my room in alphabetical order and see how that goes.