Building a Digital Museum: Opportunities for Scholarship and Learning


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Most students and researchers of the theatre arts would seize the chance to stroll through a virtual museum featuring work by one of the world’s most prolific producers of scenic, costume, and lighting designs. That was the vision presented to Furman University when they were given the extraordinary opportunity to digitize the life’s work of renowned New York theatre designer, producer, painter, sculptor, and photographer Peter Wexler. The opportunity also presented a challenge. For a small staff at a liberal arts college, developing a strategy to digitally archive more than 6,000 artifacts within a tight timeframe could be daunting. Before converting the first item into digital format, consideration had to be given to how the collection might be used for teaching and scholarship. Furman’s Digital Collections Center is tackling this challenge as they document the creative process from preliminary sketches to final productions. In their presentation for NITLE Shared Academics, Furman University’s James B. Duke Library colleagues Rick Jones, manager of the Digital Collections Center, and Christy Allen, assistant director for Discovery Services, detailed the strategy and process of digitizing Peter Wexler’s work and how they prepared for the ways in which it will support teaching and scholarship.

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  • HistoryClassicsReligionUrban planningProject managementPublic history/museum exhibits
  • CHALLENGESCollaborationCopyrightCurriculum integrationPromotion and marketing
  • Building a Digital Museum: Opportunities for Scholarship and Learning

    1. 1. Opportunities for Scholarship and Learning Rick Jones and Christy Allen Furman University Libraries Digital Collections Center Building a Digital Museum
    2. 2. About Furman University •Private liberal arts college in Greenville, SC •2,700+ students •239 faculty •37 digital collections containing 56,000+ digital items
    3. 3. About the Digital Museum •Peter Wexler •The physical collection •Goals and scope •Timeline
    4. 4. Planning the Digital Museum •Managing the collection • Building the team •Setting up the equipment
    5. 5. Building the Digital Museum • Digitizing • Organizing • Describing • Accessing
    6. 6. Goals of the Digital Museum 1. Support teaching and learning across disciplines 2. Hands-on Experience 3. Demonstrate the creative process 4. Serve as a catalyst for interdisciplinary research
    7. 7. 1. Support Teaching and Scholarship
    8. 8. Theatre
    9. 9. Art
    10. 10. Music and Dance
    11. 11. Graphic Design
    12. 12. Architecture
    13. 13. 2. Hands-on Experience • Digital technology • Scanners and cameras • Lightroom and Photoshop • Library and archival skills • Standards • Metadata • Handling rare materials • Collaboration • With other students • With the artist
    14. 14. 3. Demonstrate the Creative Process
    15. 15. 4. Serve as a Catalyst for Interdisciplinary Research
    16. 16. Screenshot from Chris Black
    17. 17. Questions
    18. 18. 40 The Peter Wexler Digital Museum at Furman University is made possible by a generous and deeply appreciated gift from Todd and Karen Ruppert. Unless otherwise stated all models, sculptures, sketches, graphics, designs, and color photos are the property of and are copyright Peter Wexler. All rights reserved. All the digital images are the exclusive property of Furman University. The Peter Wexler Digital Museum at Furman University is for archival, personal, educational, research, and non-commercial use as defined by U.S. Copyright Law. Commercial use is prohibited without written permission.