Visualizing Nineteenth-Century New York comes out of collaboration between the Bard Graduate Center and the New York Public Library. Organized by David Jaffee, the BGC Head of New Media Research, and Joshua Greenberg, former NYPL Director of Digital Strategy and Scholarship, the exhibit was produced by the students of the Bard Graduate Center in the fall and spring semesters of 2010-11. Amy Azzarito, former NYPL Digital Experience producer, greatly facilitated our work in the library in the fall, while Kimon Keramidas, Assistant Director for the Digital Media Lab at the BGC, gave invaluable guidance about all things digital in the spring.
The Bard Graduate Center has a long history of collaborative exhibitions with leading New York cultural institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New-York Historical Society, and the American Museum of Natural History. Visualizing Nineteenth-Century New York was an experiment in utilizing the matchless collections of the New York Public Library to mount a student-authored digital exhibition. We spent much of the fall consulting the vast literature on the social and cultural history of New York City. At the same time we explored the collections of the New York Public Library to become familiar with the genres that make up the visual record of nineteenth-century New York (Maps, Rare Books, Local History, and Prints and Photographs). See the general Sources page for a selection of some of the bibliography on the cultural history and visual materials of that history.
Wikis were a valuable resource for the collaborative work that made the exhibit possible. They facilitated the selection and development of the project themes in the fall and the construction of the exhibit website in the spring. We also used the open source program Omeka in the fall to collect and organize our materials. In the spring, we developed our exhibition (really a series of five related student exhibitions) as a custom built web site using a variety of web technologies that allowed us to create an experience that is rich in content and makes the materials accessible via a number of paths.
Exhibit Developers:Mark Boyer
Students in the fall semester contributed considerably to our knowledge of the visual materials at the NYPL and our thinking about the creation of the digital exhibition: Shahla Abdi, Shoshana Greenwald, Christian Larsen, Amy Semmig, Liz St. George, Demetrios Vital, and Einav Zamir.
We would also like to thank Peter Miller, Dean at the BGC; Nina Strizler-Levine, Chief Curator and Executive Editor, Gallery Publication; and Elena Pinto-Simon, Dean of Academic Administration and Student Affairs, for their support of digital exhibitions at the BGC.
At the NYPL we appreciate the many people who shared their collections and expertise with us: Rebecca Federman, electronic resources coordinator and culinary history; Michael Inman, Rare Books Curator; Matt Knutzen, Geospatial Librarian; Jessica Pigza, Rare Books Librarian; Stephen Pinson, Assistant Director of Art, Prints, and Photographs and Robert B. Menschel Curator of the Photography Division; Madeleine Viljoen, Prints Curator, Sachiko Clayton, U.S. History; Jay Barksdale, Reference Librarian.
Finally, John Adler generously provided permission to use HarpWeek LLC images in the project.