Digital Exhibits

Exhibits Built Using the Omeka Platform

As part of my work, I have created several digital exhibits designed to showcase digitized reports that might otherwise not have much visual interest. These exhibits all use the Omeka platform and a heavily edited version of a theme first created by Erin J. Bell.

(I was responsible for creating all of the content and design for these exhibits)

Frost on Chickens

The poet Robert Frost lived and worked as a poultry farmer in Derry, New Hampshire from 1900 to 1909. During that period he published a dozen articles for two trade journals: The Eastern Poultryman and The Farm-Poultry. The National Agricultural Library (NAL) holds copies of these publications and other relevant materials on poultry farming which give context to Frost’s articles.

“Frost on Chickens” is made of nine smaller topical exhibits that relate directly to the subjects contained in Frost’s pieces. Each exhibit presents relevant excerpts from Frost’s articles, an overview of the topic, and links to full-text, digital NAL and USDA materials.

Apron Strings and Kitchen Sinks

The Bureau of Home Economics was a pioneering unit in the U.S. Department of Agriculture for several reasons. It was the first major unit to have been headed by a woman: Louise Stanley, Ph.D. It focused on topics of central concern to women, as defined by the cultural norms of the early 20th century: sewing, kitchen design and features, time spent on housework, children’s clothing, and food preparation and preservation. Lastly, it took a then-novel approach to its work: it strove to first understand what its primary audience needed within its broad mandate and then shaped its specific programs around those needs.

This exhibit showcases the work of this Bureau — especially the work related to clothing and kitchen design.

George Washington Carver

George Washington Carver was an agricultural scientist whose importance lies in his practical work supporting African-American farmers and his advocacy for specific crops such as peanuts and sweet potatoes. His work paved the way forward for other African-American scientists and farmers.

The exhibit was designed to showcase the 39 Tuskegee Institute Experiment Station Bulletins held by NAL that were written by Carver during his tenure as Director. It has been subdivided into the following topic areas:

  1. Crop Development: bulletins designed to encourage farmers to diversify their lands and grow crops that would provide immediate benefits. These crops included sweet potatoes, black-eyed (cow) peas, corn, alfalfa, tomatoes, cotton, and of course, peanuts.
  2. Farm Management: practical advice for making, saving, and managing money that addressed the real limitations faced by poor, mainly black, farmers of rural Alabama.
  3. Homemaking Activities: directions for food preservation, cooking, growing ornamental plants, and using native clay to create color washes for decorating the farmhouse.
  4. Raising Livestock: methods for increasing productivity in the poultry yard, livestock feeding using readily available plants such as acorns, and the relationship between overall farm health and livestock production.
  5. Rural Schools: ways to use agriculture and gardening to educate children in the science of the natural world.
  6. Soil Productivity: instructions for strengthening the then impoverished soils of Alabama’s poorest farms.

Small Agriculture

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has supported small-scale farming and niche agricultural initiatives throughout its lifespan. This exhibit showcases three of these initiatives:

  1. The School Garden: designed to address various program elements such as the scientific life of the plant, production of food, marketing food products, engaging with the natural world, being outdoors, and taking responsibility for a specific plot of land.

  2. Subsistence Homesteads: a federal housing program created in 1933 as a response to the Great Depression that aimed to improve the living conditions of people coming from overcrowded urban centers, while simultaneously giving them a new opportunity to experience small-scale farming and home ownership.

  3. Victory Gardens and Farms: initiatives carried out to increase the supply and quality of fresh food for the domestic U.S. population during World War II.