An Intern’s Journey; Chapter 8: Dear Dr. Banting Update

Last time I discussed going through different sources to piece together a timeline of Dr. Banting’s life in London. Yesterday marked the first official day of the campaign of sorts, that takes our followers through Banting’s time in London. Last week, I switched it up a bit and did more work on my online exhibit Dear Dr. Banting.

I had already previously went through all the letters and sorted them into several different categories, but to prevent future interns from having to continuously do the same, I decided to create a collections manual/procedure in regards to the letters! This includes instructions on how to sort, creating a spot where unsorted letters can go (ensuring that others know not to put unsorted letters in the ones that are already sorted!), and also discussing how to organize letters written in foreign languages. Hopefully this will help future researchers find the materials easier but also save some time and spare someone’s sanity from having to organize them again!

After sorting, I decided to conquer one pile of letters for scanning at a time. I brought my printer to my work space and like a robot, just kept putting letters in, pressing scan, taking the letters out and repeating that until all the letters were done. This wasn’t necessarily time consuming, rather it was a bit mind-numbing. But, I am pushing through and listening to some good music while I do it!

I also did some more work on the website including the look/aesthetic of the site, how to make it user-friendly, layout and so on! WordPress is mainly used for website creation and blogging, not so much hosting an online exhibit. So, I had to get creative and make it easy for our visitors to navigate. I thought it’d be best to set it up like a DVD scene selection menu. I have a page that lists all the sections of the exhibit and visitors can either start from the beginning with the Introduction or if they wish to only view part of the exhibit, they can click on whatever section interests them! Once they are taken to the section, they can go through read the exhibit text, letters and so forth, but at the very bottom it gives visitors the options to go back or next, which will take them back to the previous section or forward towards the next! This way, if they do chose to start from the beginning its an easy and smooth transition between each section (and the visitor doesn’t have to continuously go back to the overview page!). After they complete the exhibit they’re taken to the interactive components that I have created (which will remain a secret for now!).

My next steps are creating promotional materials, a social media plan and potentially some form of online launch event (perhaps through Facebook)! I am excited to continue to work on this amazing project.

My takeaways for the week:

  • I am really enjoying the process of creating this exhibit and it definitely inspires me to want to go into exhibit design and planning in the future
  • Its important to be flexible in the process of planning, Rome wasn’t built in a day!
  • While digitizing documents is incredibly important, scanning can be very mundane and draining! (Best to put on some good music or your favourite movie on in the background!)

This post was written by Kat MacDonald, an intern at Banting House NHSC. Kat is currently completing her M.A. in Public History at Western University.

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