As nerdy as it sounds, the brilliance of HistoryPin lies in the platform’s ability to transform average armchair historians like myself into amateur cartographers. After bumbling around on the library’s I-Pad for a ten minutes or so, I was able to figure the procedure for pinning, re-pinning, and creating collections – which seems strange considering my supposed “millennial” status.
A big shout out to Kristyn for introducing me to this platform! Little did I know, HistoryPin will eventually consume much of my digital project when it comes to light. After a meeting with the head curator of the Gunn Memorial library, I took a brief tour of the museum’s inventory. It was a bit messy, considering they’re in the middle of the renovation process. But coincidentally I stumbled upon a collection of old town maps. I had seen these before; my step-father had one framed in his office for nearly a decade. These maps were designed partly by Ehrick K. Rossiter, a French-born American architect who settled in my home town about 150 years ago. Pretty neat huh?
Things got even crazier when we found a collection of black & white photos of the town. Apparently, Washington, Connecticut had its very own Samuel Berg. Though I forgot the gentleman’s name, one of the town’s residents compiled a collection of over 2000 photos related to the town. After expressing my experience with the Berg photos, HistoryPin quickly became the focal point of our discussion. Fun times ahead!
This website has so much potential for community engagement, especially within the school setting. Seeing that local history has all but died out in my town, creating a curriculum around HistoryPin can certainly help revitalize the community’s interest in historical self-preservation.
Onto the readings. I read ahead in Moretti’s Graphs, Maps and Trees last week, specifically the section on “trees”. His understanding of maps changes a bit in this section, quantifying them as “morphological” in design as opposed to quantitative and spatial, like the ones we were exposed to in the previous chapters (69). Referring to Darwin’s theory on “divergence of character”, the value of tree graphs comes from their ability to depict the change over time amongst a group of data nodes, stemming from a single point of origin. The graph itself represents a hierarchy governed by time. Therefore the distance between two nodes is a physical representation of passed time.
Moretti’s assesment of graphs, maps, and trees is interesting and thought-provoking. However, over-simplification has its drawbacks. Can a graph accuratley convey the historial context of a region beset by racial, and issues? Can it depict emotion? Probably, but not for Moretti. This is perhaps due to the selection of works he decided to cover in Graphs, Maps, and Trees. Nevertheless, deconstructing images has value. It forces people to change their perception on events, places and people. A picture can tell a story of a thousand words. To Moretti, you only need a few powerful ones.