Title:Harvesting New Mexico’s Cultural Resources
Authors:Alex Traube
Publication:MW98: Museums and the Web 1998

Since the beginning of 1997, The Palace of The Governors, New Mexico's State History Museum, has been planning a project and implementing it with the SER Academy, an alternative Santa Fe high school for at-risk, predominantly Hispanic youth, and Santa Fe Community College. The project these partners are engaged in is the U.S. civil war in New Mexico. In it, related photographs, manuscripts, books, and artifacts are being re-photographed, digitized, and catalogued by the teenage students. The students are using these materials to create the civil war in New Mexico Web Site; the site will be available on computers at The Palace of The Governors and on the World Wide Web. What this model project suggests is, one, there are nearly limitless opportunities in New Mexico to translate museum, archival, and library collections into electronic forms which people can access, independent of location. Given the huge quantity of materials that need to be digitally captured, shaped (into databases, web sites, curricula, etc.), and published, a second opportunity presents itself: training young people in work for which there is so obvious a demand and for which, we contend, there will be jobs. This suggests the third and final portion of the paper: there are large sectors of the population today who, like the kids at the SER Academy, are considered by many to be a burden on society; this project suggests that such persons can be trained and employed in meaningful work and thereby become assets to the society which now marginalizes them.