Archiving websites with Chicago History Museum

The importance of moving forward with technology, while retaining past projects for reference.

Keeping in mind the context they were built, how do you retain older sites for viewing on newer browsers?   When the Chicago History Museum asked us to help archive four useful websites built in the early days of the internet, we did just that.  Gathering the files, checking the links, building a new location to hold them moving forward.  Each of these sites provide teachers with content used in their classrooms.  It was important not to change the sites, just relocate and make them available.

These sites offer good snapshots of what the internet was like at the time they were launched.  Design, screen resolution, usability, back-end development and special tools like Quicktime, animated GIFs, Flash and HTML 2 are sometimes still there to see and sometimes no longer available.

The Dramas of Haymarket

An online project produced by the Chicago Historical Society and Northwestern University. The Dramas of Haymarket examines selected materials from the Chicago Historical Society’s Haymarket Affair Digital Collection, an electronic archive of CHS’s extraordinary Haymarket holdings. The Dramas of Haymarket interprets these materials and places them in historical context, drawing on many other items from the Historical Society’s extensive resources.

Great Chicago Stories

This two-year project, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, is the result of a collaborative effort between the Chicago History Museum, Chicago school teachers, a national advisory board, and professional writers. Area educators selected the topics, wrote unit plans, and tested the narratives and resources in their classrooms. Great Chicago Stories has been honored with three prestigious awards.

The Haymarket Affair Digital Collection

The Haymarket Affair Digital Collection was created at the Chicago Historical Society under a grant awarded by the Library of Congress National Digital Library Ameritech Competition. The project was also supported in part by funds from the Chicago Park District. In digitizing its collections the Chicago Historical Society seeks to make the primary materials of history available to the widest possible audience.

Wet with Blood: The Investigation of Mary Todd Lincoln’s Cloak

This site is the product of an unusual collaboration among many organizations and individuals. The web site is a joint production of the Chicago Historical Society and Academic Technologies at Northwestern University. We are grateful to our many creative collaborators who have so generously contributed to the success of this project.

The Chicago History Museum are one of our longest and, most fun, groups to work with. For over 20 years we have been assisting the with web and print projects – so preserving the information and stories contained in their websites is a trip down memory lane for us as well as the sites’ visitors.