NYU Funds APH and Museum Studies Customizations for Omeka

APH faculty Cathy Moran Hajo and Victoria Cain collaborated on a successful proposal to NYU’s Curricular Development Challenge Fund to hire a programmer to customize the Greenwich Village History Digital Archive (GVHDA) Omeka site. The project, Developing Omeka Customizations for Museum, Archives and Public History (DOCMAP) will begin work this summer.

Greenwich Village History Digital Archive

The GVHDA has been built by students in the APH’s Creating Digital History course (HIST-GA.2033), taught by Cathy Moran Hajo. Running on Omeka, the popular open-source museum and archives content management system developed by the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (George Mason University), the digital archive contains almost one thousand individual items, drawn from sixty unique archival collections. In addition, the GVHDA features thirty-two digital exhibits authored by students drawn from the items in the archive. Creating Digital History will be offered again this Fall and will expand the GVHDA further.

In the Spring of 2013, Victoria Cain’s Historic Sites, Cultural Landscapes and the Politics of Preservation (MSMS-GA 2223) will contribute items and exhibits to the GVHDA.

Theme Customizations

After using and evaluating Omeka in its “off-the-shelf” configuration and looking at other Omeka sites, Cathy Moran Hajo and Victoria Cain proposed to create customizations to enable students in both courses to more easily create unique designs for their exhibits. In the past, students could either use an existing Omeka theme or tinker with its CSS code in order to give their exhibit a different look and feel. Students found this the most difficult part of the course. By seeking to create broadly customizable themes, students will be able to choose between a few basic layouts that enable students to alter design features such as background and foreground colors, fonts and banner images from drop-down lists.

Graduate student Jonathan Reeve has been hired to work with Professors Cain and Hajo on these and other customizations that will make the GVHDA a more attractive and more user-friendly site, both for its visitors and its contributors. Dr. Deena Engel (Computer Science) has also offered her valuable help and guidance to the project.

As work progresses on the site, we would like to solicit advice and comments from former students in the CDH course, or APH students or alumni familiar with web exhibits or Omeka. If you would like to be involved in this process, email Cathy Moran Hajo at cathy.hajo@nyu.edu.

Cathy Moran Hajo

About Cathy Moran Hajo

Cathy Moran Hajo is the Associate Editor and Assistant Director of the Margaret Sanger Papers, a scholarly editing project located at NYU.  With the Sanger Papers, she has published three volumes of the Selected Papers of Margaret Sanger, a two-series microfilm edition, and two electronic publications.  She has worked as a documentary editor for over twenty years, specializing in the publication of historical materials in digital form, and participating in scholarly conferences and meetings on digital issues.

In addition to her work with the Sanger Project, she is the author of  Birth Control on Main Street: Organizing Clinics in the United States, 1916-1939 (U. of Illinois Press, 2010).  Her students in Creating Digital History have created a Greenwich Village History blog and an Omeka site on Researching Greenwich Village History.
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