As I mentioned in my previous post, I initially applied to this Fellowship with a specific project in mind, but have since changed my mind. After devoting too much time sleuthing into a provenance project, Ethan and I decided that the research was too interesting not to chare. So instead, I will be presenting the work I have done, and will continue to do, on the provenance of the Bronzes from Benin that are currently accessioned and housed at the Broad Art Museum in East Lansing.
Initially, I figured I would pull my inspiration (and code) from the mapping memory rapid development project and use a map and time slider based format to display the information and documents I have found. However, I quickly realized that was not the best option. For one, there are only two, three at most, general locations the bronzes have been (Nigeria and East Lansing, maybe a quick stop in New York). So, that does not make for an interesting or useful map. Second, there are large gaps in time where there is no information about the Bronzes, as well as information that is not timebound to one point in time, like antiquities laws and ethical considerations for movement of objects. So instead, I will be creating some drama approaching this like a mystery narrative. There will be a home page which provides a summary of the project – what I am doing, why it is important, key players and laws. In addition to that, there will be specific pages that go into greater detail about the individuals involved, a page about the context of antiquities ethics and laws, the context of specific laws, and a text block with great detail about the entirety of the provenance research. However, my favorite page and the main event is the scrolling timeline, formatted to read like you are unraveling a mystery (perhaps murder documentary style – wouldn’t that be fun). Included in the timeline will be scans of the associated documents. Finally, there will be a page that includes an inventory of all the bronzes with each item linked to the collections database on the Broad’s website.
I think I will have a lot of fun putting this project together, and continuing to learn more about the Bronzes!