My project consisted of using previously conducted research from my Masters’s Thesis on how Freedmen in Alexandria, Virginia obtained the right to vote from 1865 to1870. My initial progress report stated that I made good progress but was concerned about how the metadata depicted my research findings. The feedback I received was to mainly to focus on how my primary sources helped me to convey my argument. I subsequently reviewed my primary sources in a new way to theorize how each source contributed to my thesis without overwhelming the viewer. I settled on depicting specific items within my exhibit and leaving the rest within the broader items category for future reference.
The overall aim of my project was to convey my research and analysis to a wider audience. I relied on newspaper articles to serve as primary sources for specific events within Alexandria, VA from 1865 to 1870. My one hesitation about newspaper articles is that it can have the tendency to bombard the viewer with text and it is not visually appealing. Nevertheless, I settled on newspaper articles to convey my thesis because there are very few photographs of former slaves in Virginia, and even fewer in Alexandria, that I could use for the purpose of this project. I utilized omeka and the omeka exhibit builder to separate the various parts of my argument into text for a public audience.
The only problem I really encountered consisted of redundant information such as how to pick and choose what specific sources would be better within my exhibit or as an item. Nevertheless, I amassed a digital collection of my primary source research.
What I discovered about my sources is that I need both the physical artifacts and my own analysis to convey my findings. This project helps to illustrate my research with additional analysis to convey meaning. I attempted to highlight in my presentation of sources that specific events led to Freedmen suffrage and various sources I included in items can supplement my research but they should be left out of the initial exhibit as to not confuse the viewer.
This was a great project and I hope it will convey my research to a public audience as well as showcase my research abilities.
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