On-line mapping tools are quickly becoming ubiquitous, and have much to offer museums for both collection management and outreach. This paper explores potential applications of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), focusing on how two organizations, the Philadelphia City Archive and Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program, have used GIS to expand their on-line presence and reach wider audiences with collections of historic photos and information on public art.
This paper focuses on how the geographic approach has spurred the growth of these sites into valuable assets for collections management and beloved sites for users. It explores how geographic technologies can be applied to both collections management and outreach for archives and museums to expand their reach and provide patrons with a new lens through which to view exhibits and collections.
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“ This is the best use of taxpayer money I’ve heard of in a long time. I’d even be willing pay more taxes, if it would speed up the image uploads … I’ve become a PhillyHistory.org junkie … ” Duane Swierczynski, CityPaper 2/28/2007
“ This is an incredible, incredible archive. I grew up in Port Richmond, as did all of my family, and it is wonderful to see all of these places again. We're going to go broke buying pictures! “
“ But the kicker was last night when an updated photo showing a church at 1028 N. 3rd Street in what is now being called Northern Liberties. I knew it as Lower Kensington then. To the right of that picture is the house that I was born in back on July 4 1955 and was still living there when this picture was taken on March 3 1959. It literally brought tears. I couldn't believe it. We have no pictures of anything from that period. They were lost in a fire around the corner in our other house in 1968…it is only a partial picture, but in it was my uncle's car – a 1955 Buick that about 6 years later was in a bad accident. Most important of all is that maybe you can see a little face at the back of the car and I swear it's either me or my twin brother peeking about!!! WOW!!! Talk about a birthday present. I cannot stress enough the power these pics bring showing not only my area but the whole city…Thank you very much. This is the best site on the internet ”