For the project, I am going to do something long overdue and something new. I created a very simple website about one year ago (nielseichhorn.com) because a journal article about to come out with some important date was unable to include a large set of datasets I had compiled. Since the journals host institution was unwilling to provide web space, I placed the material online myself. It was an out of the box website with some alterations. I had long wanted to redo the site and put more of a personal touch on it and by default eliminate some of the cost involved with using a website builder online. For the project, I want to build an online exhibit that will eventually serve as a mechanism to promote my first book.
I am currently experimenting with EverWeb, a website builder software, to see if some of the ideas about the exhibit will be possible. It is not as user-friendly as an online for pay builder but that is the fun of this kind of work. I experimented this weekend with Sandvox, Freeway, and Adobe Muse. I am tempted to try Adobe Muse but the cost structure of Adobe products is not appealing to me as an occasional user and upon early experimentation, I found the program to be complex and requiring more hands-on construction. I had looked at wordpress and omeka as possible candidates, but found wordpresses base as a blogging site too limited and omeka’s layout not pleasing for what I envision for a website to host important datasets or a exhibit to promote a product.
The exhibit project is a continuation of what I am currently doing in the Public History capstone project. In that class, I am putting together a mock exhibit for the Fredericksburg National Military Park about Irish participants in the Civil War, which is based on my book project Separatism and the Language of Slavery (under advance contract with LSU Press). In the books, I also explore the experiences of Hungarians, Poles, and Germans from Schleswig-Holstein, I decided to make the exhibit about the Irish because of their military role in the war and their incredibly complex story, that at least is vaguely familiar to some people. The exhibit, depending on how interactive and visual I can make the presentation with copyright free material and the time I have available, would introduce Potato Famine torn Ireland and the culmination of the suffering with the six-day uprising by the Irish Confederation/Young Ireland Movement. From here, I transition the Irish into the sectionalism torn United States where they faced a new decision. Based on their background, experiences, and arguments, Irish migrants selected their favorable belligerents in the United States. The most significant moment comes with the myth of the Union and Confederate Irish brigade facing each other in combat at the Battle of Fredericksburg in 1862. Only one side had an Irish brigade at the battle. The exhibit concludes with the important reminder that Irish people, regardless whether in Ireland or in the United States, always had only one aspiration, freedom for Ireland and its oppressed people.
P.S. Bibliography to follow by email since it is much longer than 5 sources. Also thank you for the most hilarious classroom episode I have ever encountered!