Thursday, February 19, 2009

Samplers: Learning to Sew

Samplers: Learning to Sew

Maine Historical Society - Maine's Statewide Digital Museum

The Maine Historical Society developed and manage the Maine Memory Network to allow "historical societies, libraries, and other cultural institutions across the state to upload, catalog, and manage digital copies of historic items from their collections into one centralized, web-accessible database." Source

The MMN has created online exhibits, outreach, interactive tools, lesson plans, in-school demonstrations, and more to help learn about and share Maine's rich history.

One of the MMN's many digital exhibits is the Samplers: Learning to Sew exhibit, which highlights the importance of sewing in the 16th and 17th century. The exhibit is small, and open to anyone who stumbles across it. Of the 14 items in this exhibit, only a handful are actual samplers. The remaining items highlight other aspects of sewing important, such as sewing wheels, magazine clippings, pictures of schools, and diagrams of different stitches.

Visitors are greeted with two options - a slideshow view, or a list view. Both views provide a thumbnail picture and a short description. Clicking on the "info" link beneath the picture brings up the items page, complete with metadata. The amount of metadata for each item depends on how much is known about said item, but typically includes the title of the item, date created, state, media, local colde and object type. Each item also has cross references - Library of Congress subject headings and keywords, all of which are links that may be used for further reference.

As a cross-stitcher, I was thrilled with the picture zoom. Each picture zooms in several times, to the point where the grain of the wood on the spinning wheel and each individual stitch can be made out quite clearly.

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