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January 3, 2006

What Story Would it Tell?

2005-12-28 door.jpg

Our Red Hook Rehabilitation Project and subsequent move limited my time and energy for most of my favorite things�mainly, and most painfully, researching, visiting and photographing the myriad of mysterious old places throughout the city. To make up for that, these past few weeks have served as my re-emersion into the world of urban history. I finally feel as though my brain is whirling again, filled with images and questions and that wonderful hunger to delve deeper.

We visited Officer�s Row last week to continue our documentation of the houses and grounds. After a year of focusing on the structures as a whole, I used this trip to focus on the little things. Scraps of wood lined with names and rankings. A crack in the barrier wall. Bits of wallpaper and peeling paint.

After our trip to the Row, we were fortunate enough to be given a tour of the Naval Hospital and surgeon�s house. The contrast in structural health between the two spaces was incredible. Still, both areas elicited the same questions: What did I see? What did people see before me? Most of all, what did the objects tell me? Could I read a history from them? If restored, what history would these places project to the world around them?

We all want to save pieces of our past. My heart rips apart every time a building falls. Lately, however, I have been thinking about what restoration and preservation really means. When something has historical meaning, whose meaning is it? Is it the history of the people who lived in or around the structure or the national symbol that it projects? Does it have to be one or the other? Moreover, who chooses that meaning and how does it translate to those who know nothing of its history?

A few images from our visit.

Semi-Related Call for Assistance:
Do you know Flash well? Do you have a keen sense of how to merge audio and image on the web to tell a story? Have you seen some sites that have done it well? I need your advice. Please email us or post links in this post's comments if you know of a site that tells a story simply using photos and audio. I need to revamp the temporary Officer's Row website and any suggestions of places to look at would be wonderful.

Posted by callalillie at January 3, 2006 2:03 AM | History , Inquiry


One fairly simple way to do it on your own is by using Sound Slides:


Posted by: John at January 5, 2006 1:24 PM

I have found a lot of inspiration in these guy's use of flash for the telling of stories. http://www.secondstory.com

Posted by: kellyjelly at January 8, 2006 8:09 PM

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