By Matthew T. Eng
Photo archivists at the Naval History and Heritage Command recently posted three new digital exhibits highlighting a variety of interesting and insightful subjects on the history and organization of the United States Navy. These presentations help transform photographs from their two-dimensional state into a fun and interactive learning experience for anyone interested in learning more about the Navy’s important history.
According to head archivist Lisa Crunk, the idea of an interactive digital online collection spawned out of their fellow archivistâs collective desire âto be able to bring to the public a more interactive and informative way to view the collections held in the photo archive.â Using GIS Story Map software, photo archivists worked hard to turn traditional static photo galleries into a story-like presentation. For lack of a better phrase, photos languishing in the digital backroads of the site have a new and fresh take on their interpretation.
John Russell Young Blakely (Collection Photo # NHF-042-B.01)
The United States Navy Academy Class of 1892 â Careers in Review
This exhibit derived from a recently processed collection of 19th century Naval Academy photography. The collection included several portraits of Midshipmen. âWhile that is not unusual,â said Crunk, âwhat was exciting was that they had their names and class year written on the back of most photos.â With that in mind, Crunk set about on the daunting task of using the Registers of the Commissioned Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps to research every assignment of these Midshipmen, along with their corresponding rank and duty assignment throughout their careers. The GIS Story Map software helps users pinpoint the exact location of these individuals throughout their service by clicking each data point on the map. You can compare assignments, locations of appointments, and ranks over a period of more than 35 years. It is an excellent way to see how a small group of men all started their careers together in the same year and then follow how and where they served (as well as died) over the course of time.
Pioneering Naval Aviation
A look at the GIS Software Used in the Exhibit (Screencap via www.history.navy.mil)
U.S. Navy Battleships – A Century of Service
(Battleship # 18) Firing a gun of her after starboard eight-inch turret, during battle practice in 1913. (NHHC Photo # 63640)
Plans are in the works for more presentations in the future. âWe hope to build more exhibits as we come across fascinating donations as well as general imagery related to a particular subject, such as with our pictorial history of the US battleship page,â said Crunk. We are looking forward to seeing more interactive exhibits in the future.
Special thanks to the NHHC Photo Archivists for contributing to this story. If you have Navy photos that you would like to donate to the Navyâs collection, please contact Lisa Crunk, Head Archivist.
NHHC Photo Archivists Create Interactive Digital Exhibits was published by the Naval Historical Foundation and originally appeared on Naval Historical Foundation on April 19, 2017.
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