The three current Maine Community Heritage Project teams gathered at MHS today for their mid-year training on exhibit building and constructing a website. A total of 13 people from the participating towns of Strong, Surry, and Swan’s Island attended.
The day began with each team sharing the work they’ve done to date, and describing or presenting a storyboard of one of their exhibit topics.
Surry team leader Lynn Bonsey, a teacher at the town’s elementary school, shared some of the artifacts and stories that will appear in an exhibit on the history of Surry schools. The Swan’s Island team showed images from the quarrying industry that once thrived on the island, and provided granite for cobblestones in major eastern cities before shutting down in 1925. Strong Historical Society president Carl Stinchfield presented a detailed storyboard on “The Bridge that Changed the Map” which recounts how a suspension bridge with a $5,000 price tag drove a wedge between residents in 1856, resulting in the secession of East Strong.
Maine Memory staff then reviewed the philosophy behind creating successful online exhibits, and how to go about using the MMN online tools, ExhibitBuilder and SiteBuilder. Teams spent about an hour in the afternoon mocking up a sample exhibit to get a feel for the tools.
While the first half of the MCHP year was primarily focused on learning the tenets of good history, identifying resources, researching, and getting individual items up on Maine Memory, the second half will be focused on churning out the five exhibits required by the project. In addition, each town’s website will include a 3,000 narrative history of the community, and various other components. Websites are scheduled to be completed by May 15, and unveiled at a community celebration in June.