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First Piece of The Puzzle

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  • 3 minutes read
  • May 05, 2022

For the final digital learning project, I wish to expand on the digital project I made last semester for the Digital Public History course. The digital project I created is an interactive map using an existing map of Shenandoah National Park titled “Map of Stony Man Region in the Shenandoah National Park” drawn by Tom Culverwell from the year 1935. The main content of this digital project includes a digitized version of this “Map of Stony Man Region in the Shenandoah National Park” as well as images that provide context about different aspects of the drawn map, from primarily from the Farm Security Administration – Office of War Information Photograph Collection (Library of Congress). This interactive digital map is a vehicle that seeks to tell the story of the displaced mountain families that resided in the Blue Ridge Mountain Region that eventually became Shenandoah National Park. The “Map of Stony Man Region in the Shenandoah National Park” from 1935 is not a geographically accurate map and more so a visualization of a social commentary on how 1930s America viewed the people the families living in the hollows of the Shenandoah Valley. There are various elements on this map and I focused primarily on the depictions of the ‘mountain people’ while also providing some further context about some of the key landmarks noted in the map. The main historical question with this project is why were the mountain people depicted in this way on this drawn map of Shenandoah National Park from the year 1935?

I would like to further the engagement with the exhibit portion of this project, that showcase various primary sources that help to tell the story of the mountain folks in the Blue Ridge Mountain Region. The exhibits correlate to the interactive map, touching on different aspects of mountain life. I had intended this portion of the site to benefit history teachers as this can be a way to tell a different story about 1930s Virginia and government power. There are five exhibits total that discuss the following topics; Corbin Hollow, Nicholson Hollow, Mountaineers, Mountain Schools, and finally an exhibit that has the 1935 map that is annotated with links to the other exhibits based off the icons on the map. I wish to create some sort of correlating lesson plan with the digital exhibits that explore this idea of government power, the mountain people, and how they were viewed by different media outlets during the 1930s.

The target audiences for this digital project would be teachers/students studying the US history during the 1930s. The teacher/student target audience would be interested in engaging with this digital project as this is a free resource to use in the classroom to get a up close look at a map from the 1930s in Virginia, this would help teachers and students get an idea of the mindset of those who made this map and how different aspects of this area were viewed during this time in American history. This map will show the perspectives at the time about the park overall and specifically about the ‘mountain people’ while containing references to culture during the 1930s. A user of this digital project would be able to explore these elements and be able to understand the context of these depictions on the map.

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