The Art of Connecting Artifacts and Maps

Kristine Mallinson, Denison University Class of 2015

When I first heard about the 2014 Alliance for the Advancement of Liberal Arts Colleges Humanities Lab at Carleton, I was not exactly sure what the program was going to be like. I knew that  there was going to be a group of students from different liberal arts schools examining Classical mythology in different ways. One group was going to be focusing on masks and the other on maps. I was particularly interested in the mapping mythology program. To my delight, I was accepted into that program. So, on Sunday August 10th I arrived in Minnesota for the first time excited to get started and learn more about what we would be doing. The first morning we discussed Euripides Heracles and different aspects about the play. Then we split into our different groups. In my group, Dr. Bryan Burns (our director) taught us how to use several different databases and explained that we would be using Omeka and Neatline. Now, I have never used these two programs and one should know that I am pretty bad with technology, however he said that they were simple programs.

Omeka is the artifact database, or at least that is how I like to think about it. Working at the Denison Museum during the school year and interning at the Toledo Museum of Art for a couple weeks this summer provided me with a good amount of experience working with different databases and  artifacts. I  was immediately interested and fascinated with the idea of using artifacts on a digital map to examine literary accounts.

The Journey of Theseus: the map on Neatline

The Journey of Theseus: the map on Neatline

The Life Travels of Theseus: exhibit page on Omeka

The Life Travels of Theseus: exhibit page on Omeka

I have decided to work  on mapping out the life and death of Theseus. I have used Plutarch’s  Theseus as the main historical source for his adventures. I mapped out his six deeds on his way to Athens as well as several adventures he partakes in after becoming the heir to the Athenian throne.  I am also interested in connecting him with different mythological figures and displaying this through an Omeka feature, exhibits.

Overall, I have learned a lot about online databases for artifacts as well as how to use Omeka and Neatline. All of these resources will be beneficial in my further study of the Classics. While I am still perfecting how I want to display the life and death of Theseus, it is safe to say that this is an interesting way of moving the humanities into a lab and that I have learned a lot. At the end of the week, I am excited to see what each person has created and how they decided to display different myths.

Click here to view the map of Theseus

Click here to view the exhibit about Theseus 

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