The following information is based on a press release provided to the Joss Group by the Digital Public Libary of America.
The Digital Public Library of America has announced the addition of two exhibitions. The new exhibitions, The Show Must Go On! American Theater in the Great Depression and Staking Claims: the Gold Rush in Nineteenth-Century America tell the stories of two significant chapters in United States history.
The Great Depression had an enormous impact on theater across the United States. Productions decreased dramatically, audiences shrank, and talented writers, performers, and directors fled the industry to find work in Hollywood. The public construction projects of the Works Progress Administration built theaters in cities across America. The Federal Theater Project was established to fund theatre and performances across the country providing work to unemployed artists. This influx of new artists had transformed the industry, opening theatre to new voices, themes, and audiences.
The Show explores these Depression-era changes and their impact on American theater. Kathleen Dowling, Laura Marte Piccini, and Matthew Schofield created this exhibit as part of Professor Anthony Cocciolo's course, Projects in Digital Archives, in the School of Information and Library Science at Pratt Institute (New York).
Staking Claims explores the Gold Rush—several related gold rushes to Western territories in the second half of the nineteenth century—and its impact on American history and culture. Catalyzed by the discovery of gold the Sierra Nevada in 1848, gold fever would persist for decades, attracting migrants looking to stake their claims to increasingly northern and eastern destinations—from the Rocky Mountains in present-day Colorado, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana to the Yukon Territory and present-day Alaska by the 1890s.
Heidi Buljung, Chelsea Condren, Rachel Garfield-Levine, Sarah Martinez, Liz Slaymaker-Miller, Chet Rebman, and Brittany Robinson created this exhibit as part of Professor Krystyna Matusiak’s course, Digital Libraries, in the Library and Information Science program at the University of Denver.
The DPLA commissioned the exhibitions as part of the library's Digital Curation Project, a pilot program in which graduate students from four library and information science schools envisioned and curated exhibitions over the course of a semester. The goal of the project was to engage graduate students in curating and writing exhibitions using, at least in part, content available through the DPLA data store, which numbers more than 5.7 million items and growing. The pilot provided students with real-world experience in the development and implementation of high-quality, well-conceived exhibitions on topics of national interest and scope. Students were also exposed to copyright and permissions issues related to digital resources.
About the Digital Public Library of America
The Digital Public Library of America strives to contain the full breadth of human expression, from the written word, to works of art and culture, to records of America’s heritage, to the efforts and data of science. Since launching in April 2013, the DPLA has aggregated over 5.7 million items from more than 1,100 institutions. DPLA is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit.