Hello CHI Community!  

It’s been a crazy last month in Chi, as we learned more about planning and implementing digital heritage projects through small rapid development projects. First, we were asked to create a Vision Documents (or a two-page snippet on your project’s scope, goals, audience, data, and partners) of an idea to build a digital project for a museum of our choice in order to better engage with the public of that museum. Then, we started learning more about the process of executing such an idea by creating a website to pitch said idea. 

Our group decided to focus on the Reykjavik Maritime Museum in Iceland because we became enraptured by their seafaring communities exhibit. We loved how this one exhibit focused on one thing (fish) and was able to teach visitors about that fish from start to end, or from ocean to plate. Such an exhibit really creates an interactive environment for visitors – and the exhibit itself even ends with a game where visitors can try to build new recipes using the fish they just learned about!  

We decided we wanted to use those fish to connect with those outside of the museum, those in Iceland and abroad, as the tourist session is so short in Iceland due to the long winter season. However, we didn’t want to just translate the exhibit to a digital sphere, as we didn’t want to take away from tourism to the museum, which is a large economic factor in Iceland. Therefore, we decided to create a temporary add-on exhibit where users get more information on traditional Icelandic fish recipes and have the opportunity to make them at home and share them with the museum! Iceland has a vibrant food culture and this felt like a great and fun way to engage with visitors when the museum is not open.  

We loved this idea, but definitely had a harder time creating a website than creating our vision document. For our pitch website, our group used a bootstrap template and GitHub to practice the workflow of using GitHub, while also getting the hang of HTML and CSS scripts. Luckily, our group was able to get on board with the coding aspect quite quickly, but boy did we have a bit of a hurdle when it came to GitHub, from downloading and accessing files to merging branches – of course, I should say that our group was lucky enough to have two returning CHI fellows who went above and beyond to get us to our final project so issues with merging branches may have been a bit more of a first timer issue on my part. But I will say that this experience taught me a lot about using GitHub and a lot more about troubleshooting issues with GitHub.  

However, this project really showed me how much you can do with open-sourced, free technology and I’m beyond excited to see how I will take this knowledge towards my own CHI project next semester. Of course, before then we have a few rapid developments to get through, which I know will make me much more qualified and prepared to work on my final project! In fact, I am really looking forward to our next rapid development project on mapping memories because I am really hoping to create an interactive and informative map for my own CHI project. The prospect of JavaScript is scaring me a bit after our introduction lecture, but I know that our prep work over the summer will come in handy – as well as some newly learned troubleshooting strategies!  

Until next time, I look forward to writing my next blog and seeing how much I will have learned in the month to come!