Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina presents a digital publication based on a database of monuments, shrines, and commemorative public art from across North Carolina. It’s an excellent match for the NCpedia approach, with researched North Carolina history content supported by rich historical documentation. Like NCpedia, Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina provides source citations and links to web content and digitized historical records and images. This adds not only to the quality of the content but to the depth of the user’s experience in exploring the content. For NCpedia, partnership with Commemorative Landscapes represents the opportunity to add a substantial amount of historical content with the unique historical perspective of how North Carolinians have experienced and chosen to commemorate their history.
Supported by an IMLS grant from the State Library of North Carolina, Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina began in 2011 as a collaborative effort between the Department of History and the University Libraries at UNC-Chapel Hill. The grant funded the development of a digital collection and web publication of monuments from the landscape of 25 central Piedmont counties. Professor Fitz Brundage brought his idea for mapping the commemorative landscape of the state into his undergraduate history classrooms. Students researched existing and removed monuments and uncovered detailed historical information, including: monument creators, sponsorship, and cost; historic accounts of planning and fundraising; dedication and post-dedication events; the history of the subjects of the monuments; and descriptions of monument landscapes and geo-coordinates.
Guided by Natasha Smith at UNC’s Wilson Library, the library brought its expertise in digital humanities publishing, database development, and metadata standards along with its treasure trove of documentary items from the Library and the North Carolina Collection. Students and project staff located and digitized a range of objects, including manuscript materials, historic newspaper accounts, and postcard images of monuments. At the same time, historic publications and periodicals from UNC and Duke collections were scanned by the Internet Archive at these schools. These digitized objects were linked to published records for users to access and explore.
The publication went live in June 2012 with the launch of 25 counties. Since then research and mapping have continued at UNC as they expanded from the central Piedmont counties to the wider Piedmont, coastal plain, and, currently, to the mountain counties. Earlier this month, NCpedia launched its collaboration with Commemorative Landscapes with publication of 338 monument entries, comprised of 57 North Carolina counties and York County, SC. (York County represented monuments at Kings Mountain Battlefield which were placed on the landscape due to their importance to North Carolina history and, significantly, through the efforts of North Carolinians.)
Please visit Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina on NCpedia and explore the breadth of this unique view of North Carolina history!
–Kelly Agan, NCpedia Digital Media Librarian