An Interactive Map and Timeline of the Newcomb College Washington Avenue Campus: A Collaboration of Learning

Paper
Mary-Allen Johnson, USA

The Collat Media Lab at the Newcomb College Institute of Tulane University provides resources and opportunities for undergraduate women to advance their technology and digital media skills. Since Spring 2011, the lab has sponsored the Collat Media Internship Program, where students assist a faculty mentor with activities that combine digital media with research, teaching and/or community engagement. Throughout the course of the program, students gain practical experience in activities such as writing blogs, designing websites and mobile apps, and creating videos and online exhibits. Students learn these skills from a variety of sources including collaboration with fellow interns, learning from knowledgeable faculty, staff, and community members, and through online resources and books.

In late Fall 2010, M.A. Johnson, a faculty archivist at the Newcomb Archives, Newcomb College Institute of Tulane University, submitted a proposal for a Collat Media Intern to create an interactive map and timeline of the second historical campus location of H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College. Under the direction of the Collat Media Lab manager, Jaelle Scheuerman, Tulane sophomore Yuhui Yun (Neuroscience and Studio Art) created in one semester an interactive map that allows people to view images and descriptions of the various buildings on the second campus and a timeline, which shows how the campus developed and expanded from 1891 to 1918. Yun was afforded a high degree of independence to regulate her own work flow and assess her own training schedule. She also was given the opportunity to exercise her own creativity, transforming the raw materials into an elegant and effective exhibit that “exceeded the expectations” of Johnson’s original concepts.

This paper describes the process and creation of this awarding-winning online exhibit and details the benefits of the project to each of the collaborators as well as to the local and virtual community. More than simply a series of digital objects, this exhibit, utilizing ephemeral holdings of the Newcomb Archives, reconstructs a time and place that informs present-day researchers, allowing them to visualize more accurately the literal and figurative landscapes of achievement of the Newcomb alumnae at the turn of the last century. The exhibit also complements other online historical projects such as MediaNOLA.com, which seeks to preserve virtually the traditions, customs, history, geography and culture of New Orleans against future apocalyptic cataclysms.