Barton PLACE takes a simple timeline and a venerable old building in need of restoration and brings them together as a virtual project that can energize the community in Mobile, Alabama and the towns surrounding Mobile Bay in a way that perhaps no other project could do. Barton Academy, a splendid Greek Revival structure built in 1836 as the first public school in Alabama, has seen several thousand students go through its doors. and many of the area residents have family members who graduated from or attended Barton in the past.
Instead of peering over old musty annuals and crinkled newspapers, it occurred to me that we could create a dynamic timeline and bring to life the individuals that made this school great. The information is easily accessible due to the meticulous archives in local history museums and libraries, and there are many people dedicated to the stories and records that make up our history, but the digital timeline is something we can share, in ways that most people have never imagined before.
The digital timeline is here: http://www.dipity.com/doublygifted/Barton-Academy
And that is just a beginning. I expect to get teachers, students and members of the Bay area community involved in adding to the timeline in the next few months. Once enough people become aware of the timeline, I expect it will take on a life of its own.
The old black and white images can be made more interesting with color, digitally manipulating the images, enlarging and mending them where necessary. The stories, the words and the events can be brought to life in ways that can provide instruction for the young students and memories for the older generations in ways that could become a new way of interacting with history.
The funds raised will be used for printing, scanners, iPads and software to present the concept to the schools, teach participants how to scan and upload images, print postcards and prizes for the contributors, and other resources I'll need to make this project truly engaging for the entire community.
My vision includes lots of hands on tutoring, involving the older generation as well as the youngsters, and perhaps a location where anyone can come to bring their images and artifacts to be scanned and uploaded.
The digital timeline is easily viewed on an iPad or a smart phone and designed around social media concepts so that those that "follow" the timeline will be automatically notified of changes. I envision presenting the timeline at retirement homes, public libraries, schools and churches. I also envision many other projects growing out of this idea.
Barton PLACE will be promoted by the use of QR codes as well as by virtual presentations, both in small meetings and webinars, youTube videos and, of course, Kickstarter buzz. Thank you!