Project Proposal

Last winter, as part of the National Archives’ “Know Your Records” lecture series, I put together a presentation about the Robert E. Peary Family Collection. This collection of donated materials includes the personal papers of Peary, his wife Josephine, his children, and other family members pertaining chiefly to all of Peary’s arctic expeditions from 1886 to 1909. Included are Peary’s diaries; correspondence; photographs; copies of articles he published; preparatory materials for all of his expeditions; and artifacts.  I created a PowerPoint presentation using resources from the collection, as well as an illustrated handout and a display of items for attendees to peruse.

My proposal is to migrate all of these components into a portal on the National Archives’ web site ( which can link to descriptions of the records in the Archival Research Catalog (ARC) as well as to other web sites relating to Peary and polar exploration of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

At one time the National Archives maintained a Center for Polar Archives, which housed the donated collections of over 100 individuals and organizations involved in polar exploration. While the Center no longer exists, the records are still in the custody of the National Archives. Included are collections of such individuals as Bernt Balchen, Lincoln Ellsworth, Paul Siple, and Vilhjalmur Stefansson. Descriptions of these collections could also be linked to the Peary portal.

It might also be worthwhile to incorporate a contributory feature to the site, where people could send in their own polar exploration tidbits, or “my brush with history” anecdotes, things of that nature.  

Now, how to begin? I suppose I need to learn some basic web site design utilizing DreamWeaver or some such. I have the PowerPoint presentation saved on a CD, including all of the jpegs of the images. I don’t know where HTML skill would come into play in this project; I learned HomeSite 4.5 several years ago, and did put together a small document, but I’ll have to relearn the process.  And what about flash, pdfs, rss, etc.?

 I’d appreciate any comments or suggestions ! Thanks.


5 Responses to “Project Proposal”

  1. Misha Griffith Says:

    Jenny and I just attended the Dreamweaver training class at GMU’s IT center–look up the STAR program. It was quite good as an introductory class. Two hours, and you will feel much more comfortable with the design work. We will be attending the next class–they offer four parts. You will need all the images from your Powerpoint, and since they are in JPEG, you may just be able to load them with little or no effort. With Dreamweaver, you do not need HTML, but it is helpful if you want to do something fancy.

  2. Josh Greenberg Says:

    (I assume that you mean

    So, I like the proposal idea. The first thing I’m wondering is whether there’s an established model for projects like this within the Archives; the project is much more compelling to me if it represents untrodden ground.

    Also, I expect that there are layers of organizational bureaucracy surrounding access to the website itself, and I imagine that a non-trivial part of the work for this project would involve getting others to buy into the idea. Would you be the one building this yourself, or would you be able to marshal someone else at the Archives into doing some of the actual HTML coding? (I imagine that there are some restrictions about what goes online under the domain, as well…how will you navigate those?)

  3. karinhill Says:

    About 4 years ago, my boss at the time (who now works for the Center for History and New Media, did a project for her Clio Wired class about ADM Robert Byrd, another Arctic explorer. We have the hut Byrd lived in the museum…it’s one of our coolest object. Problem with the hut is that was dug up and brought back from Antarctica, the objects in it were all covered with a preservant that has an arsnic base. We therefore have to seal the hut off to the public with plex. We got special permission to block off the exhibit when my friend was doing her project, and go into the hut though with special suits, so we have these really great pics of all the items in the hut…all orginials. I’ll see if I can dig up the pics for you to look at…they may be a fun addition to your project

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  5. Michael Tim Says:

    I love your site!

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