Title:Place-Based Storytelling Tools: A New Look at Monticello
Authors:Brad Johnson
Publication:MW2005: Museums and the Web 2005

Many cultural institutions face the challenges of making their collections accessible and interpreting them on-line. But what if the 'collection' isn't something on a wall, in a case, or in storage, but is a house, a ship, a 5,000-acre plantation, or all the tombs in the Valley of the Kings? This is an in-depth look at how museums can create rich, immersive interactive sites that connect on-line audiences with places and spaces,- and the ideas, people, objects and histories that have inhabited them. This genre of museum site provides accessibility to physically restrictive locations including remote locales, endangered sites, restricted or dangerous areas, inaccessible rooms, and places that no longer exist. Since most house museums were built before ADA guidelines, these Web sites create new opportunities for disabled visitors to explore places they have never been. Experiences can go beyond the physical limitations of real geographies and beyond the chronological constraints of the present, revealing how a place evolved over time.

Building on the lessons learned from the Theban Mapping Project, Yin Yu Tang, and the new interactive Monticello Explorer site, Second Story and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation examine the genesis, process and result of their exciting new database-driven 3D experience that brings Jefferson, his house and plantation to life on-line.