Wednesday, December 8, 2010

JCHC Updates: e-Newsletter Now Live!!

Hello everyone!

I'm happy to say that today marks the maiden voyage of the new JCHC e-Newsletter emails.

We launched this new campaign based on a compiled member list from everyone's email contact list here at the History Center.  We hope that this helps to spread the word about news and events from the JCHC.

This first email focuses on the special Fieldstone concert that we are sponsoring on Dec. 22nd.  If you didn't receive this email, or would like to sign-up for the list, please follow the link at the top of my blog for a sign-up form.

Click here to view the email.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to share.


Friday, December 3, 2010

JCHC Updates: New e-Newsletter

Hello.  It's been a while since my last post.  Most of my work has been on the 105th video project trying to wrap it up.  However, today, I dabbled a bit into a new project.

Here at the JCHC, we are lacking an email circulation where our members, patrons, and guests can be added to a list to receive emails about events, news, and promotions going on here and in town.  After some research, I found a really neat and useful tool online called MailChimp.  This tool allows users to create great looking HTML based emails that can be sent to entire lists of people.  So far, this tool is proving to have a lot of potential for the JCHC.  Here is a sample email that highlights some of the items that we would like to be able to send our members.

I'm really excited to get this email stuff rolling.  Hopefully within the next week it'll be up and running, and I'll even have a sign-up form here on my blog for anybody that would be interested in receiving these emails.

As always, feel free to leave any questions or comments.


Friday, November 19, 2010

JCHC Fun Fact: Thanksgiving During the Civil War

Hello everybody.  Since this is probably going to be my last post until after the Thanksgiving holiday, I figured I would make it holiday related.  I did a little searching as to what Thanksgiving was like during the Civil War.  I came across a lot of great links and information, but there are a few things that were really neat that I would like to share.

First, I found a transcription of a proclamation by Abraham Lincoln dealing with his thoughts and feelings about the war and the USA in general around the time of the holiday.  Have a look...

Thanksgiving In The Civil War
        The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.
        In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and provoke their aggressions, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict, while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.
        Needful diversions of wealth and strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battle-field, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.
        No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.
        It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people. I do, therefore, invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that, while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation, and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.
        In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
        Done at the city of Washington this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.
By the President:
Secretary of State.

I found this document at this URL:

Second, I found a really neat picture of a Civil War camp during Thanksgiving...

We all can be thankful for the service of all the people involved in the Civil War.  Many of them risked everything to make a stand for what they believed was right.  Without them, our freedoms that we take for granted today would be non-existent.  Take a moment this holiday season to reflect on all the great men and women who made huge sacrifices to get us where we are today, not just during the Civil War, but during every day that our great country has been independent.

I hope everybody has an enjoyable Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

JCHC Updates: Video Narration

Grinding away at the narration for the 105th.  I have both 1861 and 1862 scripted and ready to record.  Only three more years to do...


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

JCHC Updates: Back To Work on the 105th

Hello everybody.  Today, I went back to work on the 105th video project after a small hiatus.  Basically, I paused the project so I could have a break from the monotony.  So, the 105th is back in my foreground right now, and video editing is consuming myself.  I'm looking to have all the timing done on the videos before next week so that I can start the narration process from home over the Thanksgiving holiday.  Hopefully by being at home, I'll have a quiet place to record the audio without the hustle and bustle of people in and out at the JCHC all day.  Stay tuned for more information and some previews in the near future.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

JCHC First Look: New Brochures

Hello everybody!  Today, I have been working on finalizing my designs for new informational brochures for the JCHC.  Tonight is a board meeting, so I wanted to get a more solid example of a final product done for the board to see.  I have three different brochures to share as well as a revision of the "Personal Tour Guide" pamphlet.  Take a look at what I've created:

Information for Teachers

Information for Students

General Information

Personal Tour Guide

I'm pretty pleased at the way these turned out.  Let me know if you notice any mistakes or misspellings or have any suggestions for ways to improve upon the design.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

JCHC Links: Fieldstone

Here at the JCHC, we sponsor a lot of local events.  These vary from special programs at the History Center, antique rifle and artifact shows, Victorian Christmas events, and much more.  Coming up next month, we are hosting a number of events for Victorian Christmas, but we do have a separate special event planned.  On Wednesday, December 22nd, the JCHC is sponsoring a musical concert featuring the locally-based folk band, Fieldstone.  Today, I thought I'd share with you the music of Fieldstone.  They are wonderful and talented musicians that should be heard by many.

Please check out their website to listen to some of their songs as well as learn a bit more about the band.

For more information on the concert, please check out our Facebook Event Page.


Friday, November 5, 2010

JCHC First Look: New Museum Guide Pamphlets

Today I had the chance to finish up my work on the new and updated version of our museum informational "Self-Tour" pamphlet.  Take a look:

This pamphlet is a bifold, so imagine that the top picture is the outside, which would be folded right down the middle making the right-hand side the front cover.  The bottom picture would be what opens up on the inside, and the left-hand side of the top picture is the back cover.

I think this is an improvement on what we had.  I also designed it so I can go in and change the text descriptions whenever our exhibits change.  What do you think?

Feel free to leave questions or comments.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

JCHC Updates: Informational Brochures

Hello everyone.  Our busiest time of the year when all the students come in for visits is finally over, so focus can now be spent on improving upon the organization.  For me, this means revamping the JCHC informational brochures and working on connecting with our members and patrons in different ways.

Most of you probably already know that the JCHC can be found on both Facebook and Twitter, both of which can be used to keep track of our news updates and event information very easily.  Check out the links below:

Those two social media links for the JCHC have been up and running for a little over a month now, and hopefully they continue to help us reach out to interested parties in a quick and accessible manner.

The informational brochures that I am working on were mostly my idea due to the fact that our previous ones are outdated and very low in supply.  So, rather than just copy the old one and make changes, I decided to start from scratch.  When planning out what information would be effective and appropriate, I determined that more than one brochure was needed to relay the desired information based on the audience.  So, I started designing a general information brochure, a brochure for teachers interested in the JCHC as an educational resource, and one for students (K-12) who might be working on a class project or assignment.  The work on these brochures is mostly done except for the proofreading, editing, and tweaking before I can declare them to be finished.  Stay tuned for digital copies of these brochures in the near future.

If anyone has questions or comments, don't hesitate to contact me.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

JCHC Fun Fact: Brookville's "Bird Man"


A local to the Brookville area, Earle Sandt would become better known as Brookville's "Bird Man."  This wasn't because of an obsession with winged creatures.  Rather, Earle got his nickname from his love for flying and aviation.

At the age of 20, Earle first learned how to fly, and he would soon take the aviation world on by surprise; after purchasing his first airplane for about $4,000.00 Sandt accomplished aviation feats that no other had before.  Flying in his "pusher," a biplane where the pilot sat in the front of the plane while an engine and propellor mounted on the back provided the power to the vehicle, Earle would set two new records on February 20, 1912.  On this day, Earle became the first aviator to fly over Lake Erie as well as the first American pilot to ever land in a foreign country upon landing in Ontario, Canada on the other side of the lake.  Later that year, on June 15, Earle accomplished another first when he became the first pilot to fly over the city of Pittsburgh.  No other aviator had done any of these three things prior to Sandt.

Just as Earle Sandt was about to reach his prime as a pilot, his career would suddenly come crashing to a halt, literally.  On June 12, 1913, Earle was flying in an acrobatic air show in Grove City, PA.  During one of his stunts while flying low to the ground, something went wrong, and Sandt was forced to jump from his plane before it crashed into the ground below.  Since parachutes wouldn't become regularly used until about the time of WWI, sand hit the ground hard.  Luckily, he was flying low enough to only suffer a broken leg from the fall.  However, 10 days later, on June 22, Sandt would die due to an infection while in the hospital.

Earle Sandt was a pioneer in the aviation world.  He is honored for his feats and accomplishments in both the DuBois and Pittsburgh airports.  Next time you are at one of these places, try to find his plaque/picture hanging on the wall.

We also have a section of our main gallery devoted to sharing some of Earle Sandt's story with our guests.  These include newspaper clippings and photos, as well as a model of his biplane.  Be sure to come and check out the exhibit if you are interested.

I hope you all found this story of a local legend to be interesting.  Look for more updates in the days to come.  Right now, my focus is on designing us a few new brochures for the JCHC, a general one and one for students.  Feel free to leave any questions or comments.


Friday, October 29, 2010

JCHC Kid Days: Final Round (Home School)

Hello everyone!  Today was the last and final day for our October visits from school students.  The students today weren't your ordinary students either.  This group was made up of students who all get educated from their home by their parents.  This isn't the traditional form of education, but not everything comes is "one size fits all" in the real world.

This day also was a lot different in how the program was formatted.  Instead of a group of students all the same age and grade level, we had a mix from Pre-K through high school.  So, we split them up into three groups (pre-k to 2nd, 3rd to 5th, 6th and above) to make our lives at the JCHC a lot easier.  Carole, our curator, was in charge of the oldest group, and she did a hands-on type lesson with them.  As she did this, I was in charge of the middle group that started off doing our museum scavenger hunt.  Mark, one of the JCHC employees, took charge of the smallest group who got to see a train show first.  As we moved along in the day, my group also got to see the train show as well as the gift shop, and Mark's group got to see everything as well.  After the museum activities were finished, each group was lead by the group leaders on a walking tour of Main Street.  This was my favorite part because I got to take the reigns in an instructional role for the first time since the end of my student teaching experience last spring.  The kids really seemed to enjoy all the places we went to, and they got the chance to see some pretty neat places that they didn't even know existed.  I was particularly impressed with the knowledge that some of these students possessed about topics like the Civil War, and I was also pleased with the quality of questions and input they provided.

Overall, today was a very successful and fulfilling day at the Jefferson County History Center.  We always enjoy educating students, and in this case their parents too, about all things history.  I look forward to more opportunities like this in the future.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

JCHC Kid Days: Home School Preparation

Today has been such a busy day getting ready for our LARGE group of home school students and parents.  Most of my time has been spent making a "cheat-sheet" to help me out while guiding a walking tour of Main Street.  Hopefully the weather will cooperate tomorrow, and the students and parents will have the opportunity to see and hear about some of the important historical places and landmarks of Brookville.  Tomorrow should be a fun day.  That's all I have right now.  Check back tomorrow for a follow up of the visit.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

JCHC Kid Days: #3

Hello.  Today marked the third of the field trips to the JCHC.  Once again, we got extremely lucky with great weather for the walking tour.  The students went through the same routine as usual with the tour, the lesson on artifacts, lunch, then they came back to do the scavenger hunt, watch a train show, and shop in the gift shop.

Today, I had to pay extra attention on the walking tour.  I just found out this morning that our group of home-school students that are coming to the JCHC on Friday will be taking a walking tour as well.  And guess what... I get to be a tour guide.  Looks like I'm going to have to brush up on my Brookville and Jefferson County history over the next couple of days.  This should be fun though.  Well, that about does it for now.  Feel free to contact me for anything as usual.


Friday, October 22, 2010

JCHC Updates: Virtual Gift Shop

Today, I've been spending some time getting our gift shop portion of the JCHC website up and running.  I started out yesterday picking out a list of important books that we have helped publish and that we sell in our gift shop.  These books will be featured for purchase on our website in the near future.  I had to go through, pick out the books off the shelf, take photos of the covers, mark down the price, tax, and shipping cost, and compose a brief description of the product.  Hopefully we will have these online soon.  Right now, it's rather frustrating because things aren't working the way that they are supposed to.  I've been working all morning trying to figure out where the errors lie and get them corrected.  Anyways, I just wanted to keep everyone posted about what we're working on here at the History Center.  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.  We look forward to having two student visits this coming week...more school kids on Wednesday, and on Friday, we are going to be visited by a group of students that are home-schooled.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

JCHC Kid Days: Video

This morning, I was up the street in our archives building moving some things around.  I got a pretty good cardio workout lifting boxes up and down the steps.  However, this isn't the only thing that I did today.  Once the work was done in the archives, I took some time to make this video from the cips I took yesterday while the students were here with us at the JCHC.  Enjoy!

As always, I'm on the lookout for questions or comments.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

JCHC Kid Days: #2

Hello all!

Today marks the second Kid Day of the year here at the JCHC. It turned out to be a beautiful day in Brookville, which really added to the overall experience.

This time around, I tagged along for the Main Street walking tour and captured some pictures, as well as some video. I learned a lot of interesting facts about Jefferson County, Brookville, and the buildings located on Main Street. For now, I'm going to include some of the pictures that I took along the tour. I will follow up within the next few days with a video that I edit together with all of my clips.

Inside the Opera House

Brookville YMCA

Walking Tour

Main Street

Outside the Court House

After we made our way back to the JCHC, the kids filed into our board meeting room, and were given a short lesson by our local curator, Carole Briggs. The students learned what it means to be a curator and had the chance to examine and identify 19th century artifacts. The kids really enjoyed this hands-on experience. I also took some images of this lesson to share. Again, the video clips that I captured will be available in the near future.

"Please Touch" - Learning Hands-on

Handling Artifacts

Applying Curator Gloves

The next thing that the students did was head over to the Court House Grill for some lunch. I took the opportunity to come back to my computer and upload my videos and pictures. After lunch, the students were given a tour of the Court House before they ventured back to the History Center where they were split up into three groups. These groups rotated between shopping in the gift shop, viewing a Bowdish Model Railroad show, and participating in a scavenger hunt through our exhibits. I also had the opportunity to take some photos and video during this time. Like before, pictures now, video soon.

Gift Shop

Browsing the Shop

Exploring the Exhibits

History: Hands-on

JCHC Scavenger Hunt

Getting Help from Carole

Bowdish Show

Bowdish Model Railroad

These are just some of the photo highlights from the day.

If you notice at the top of the page, I added a new section of photos.  If you click on the link, you can see a lot more pictures from the kids' visit to the JCHC.  I will add more to this photo page as time passes and other special events and activities take place at the JCHC.

Remember, look forward to seeing some video in the next few days.  Right now, I'm working on editing the clips together to make a short video documenting the day.

As always, if you have any questions or comments for me, don't hesitate to comment.


Friday, October 15, 2010

JCHC Fun Fact: Behind the Name "Wild Cats"

If you have been following my progress on the 105th PA regiment project, you have probably noticed that this group of soldiers was sometimes known by their nickname, the "Wild Cat Regiment."  Today, I thought I would take some time to explain why these men got their nickname.

Historically, in the Jefferson-Clarion-Clearfield area, there were many operations on the exploration of oil.  Most of these operations were individual operations where drilling was done in an areas where there were no known deposits of oil.  This process of oil exploration and drilling became known as "wildcat" drilling. This type of drilling is very high risk for investors due to the uncertainty of striking the "black gold."  A "wildcat well" would be the result if a driller got lucky.  The definition of a "wildcat well" is one drilled outside of and not in the vicinity of known oil or gas fields.  Because these "wildcat" drilling operations were common in the area in which the 105th regiment was mustered out of, they received the nickname "Wild Cats."


So, there you have it, the history behind the name.

Today, my work at the JCHC has consisted of browsing the internet looking for different listings for our organization.  I am doing this to find any errors in contact information, hours of operation, and any other mistakes.  So far, I have contacted a handful of various sites that had the History Center listed with the necessary changes.  Hopefully things will be fixed and help us connect to more interested people.

Next week, we are having Kid Day #2 here at the JCHC.  I plan on, this time, taking the morning walking tour and documenting more of the experience.  Hopefully I will get to play with my new toy that day, a Flip UltraHD camcorder.  I'll definitely work on sharing some of the videos in order to give everyone an idea of what we offer here at the History Center.  Hopefully, I can put together something similar to a movie trailer that would sum up what a trip to the JCHC entails for a classroom.  Maybe it will allow us to get more interested parties into the building in the future.

As always, don't hesitate to contact me for questions or comments.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

JCHC Updates: New Poster

Today, I decided to take a little time and see what I could do in the field of graphic design to help promote the JCHC.  I figured using our Bowdish Model Railroad exhibit as a test subject would be rather appropriate since we have shows open to the public every month.  Using photoshop, I was able to come up with this:

This is just the beginning.  I really enjoy doing things like this, and I'm looking forward to seeing what I can come up with in the future.  

To update you on the status of the 105th project, I started doing a lot of research regarding Colonel Amor A. McKnight.  I figure on having a separate video in the project just based on his life and time spend commanding the 105th.  He was a very interesting man, and I hope to show him in that manner.

That's all for now.  Feel free to contact me for any reason.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

JCHC Updates: 105th Project Updates

Hello.  This is my first post in awhile.  I ended up leaving work early last Thursday and did not make it in on Friday due to a cold that has been going around.  But, now I'm back at it with some updates for everyone.

First of all, on Thursday before I went home early, our website designer came in to give me some walkthroughs on how the site is managed and maintained.  He also gave me a rundown on how our touch screen podiums work throughout the museum.  A lot if it is really technical and will take some time to practice, but with time I believe that I will be able to do a lot more and incorporate some of my own ideas both on the touch screens and the website.

Last week, before my sick hiatus, I continued my work on the 105th video.  Right now, a lot of the work is going into scripting the narration as well as editing the video's timing to match.  This is a lot of time consuming work that is very monotonous and dull at times.  Blogging is a great way to take a break and escape the dull for a little bit.

Today, I finished up the final outline for the "1861" narration as well as the video timing that goes along with it.  Since the office here isn't the best environment to record audio narration, I moved on to doing the same for the "1862" video.  While working on the narration, just like before, the opportunity for supplemental slides presented themselves.  So, along with the scripting and editing, I also designed a few more still slides to better help visualize different thing from the video.  Here is an example slide:

Hopefully, images like this will add to the overall presentation of the project and make the video more accessible to all the viewers.

That's it for now.  Stay tuned for more updates along the way, and as always, feel free to contact me with questions or comments.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

JCHC Kid Days: #1

Another cold, damp, and dreary day in Brookville, PA.  What better way to warm and brighten up the JCHC than with a group of fourth graders on a class trip?  Today kicked off a series of Kid Days here at the museum where school children come in to explore and learn about the past.  They start off early in the morning and go on a walking tour down Main Street, followed by a lunch break, then they come back to the JCHC to end their day.  On this occasion, I did not attend the morning tour, but I did help to supervise in the afternoon.  Once back to the History Center, the students were split into three groups to see all that we have to offer at the JCHC.  The groups saw a Bowdish Model Railroad show, got to shop in our gift shop, and explored our exhibits using the scavenger hunt worksheet that I talked about last week.  It was fun to see the kids enjoying themselves looking at our historical artifacts.  For the next Kid Day, I plan on taking the morning tour with the students to experience and document the full experience.  Hopefully I can get some pictures and videos of the tour that I can share.

Other than that, today has been spent doing more video editing for the 105th project that I have been working on.  I have been trying to time the videos out right to carry along with the narration well, and I have also been editing music clips to fit into the project.  Back to work...


Thursday, September 30, 2010

JCHC First Look: 105th Editing

I thought I'd share some updates on my 105th video project on this dreary, wet day in Brookville.  Yesterday, I finally finished doing the last of the video screen captures from Google Earth that will act as the primary focus for the project.  So, today I started sitting down and putting everything into iMovie.  The way I'm editing this is by year; 1861 will be it's own video, as will 1862, 1863, and so on.  I also have separate videos for my title sequence and the credits.  This will essentially allow the viewer to select the year in which they would like to view.

Now that everything is in place in iMovie, I sat down with a pencil and a sheet of paper to write narration for the movie.  Here is a picture of the mess:

While drafting the narration, I realized that there is need for more supplemental visuals in the video.  This will help to break up the monotonous virtual tour of the Google Earth screen captures.  If you take a close look at my narration under 1861, you'll notice I have marked where a "Secession Graphic" will fit into the video.  I searched to find something that I liked and could use, but this was not very successful.  So, I decided to make my own.  Here is what I came up with:

I think that this will work nicely in the video to show the Confederate States and when they actually seceded from the Union.  This is the first of what will probably be many supplemental slides that will be created over the course of editing.

These slides aren't the only thing that I've been working on today.  I also started some music editing for the video.  I found a Library of Congress page with primary sources for Civil War Music.  On it, I found a download for a version of the Civil War era song "When Johnny Comes Marching Home"performed by the Airforce Band of Liberty.  I wanted to see what music would sound like in the intro for the project, so I used GarageBand to adjust the audio levels to fade in and out in the timeframe that I needed:

After the initial editing, I put the newly created .mp3 file into the iMovie.  Take a look and listen to what the intro the the 105th project might end up looking like:

That may or may not be the actual music that I use in the final version of this, but I wanted to play around with some audio to get an idea of what the end product will be like.

Feel free to leave comments or ask questions.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

JCHC Kid Days: Starting Wednesday, Oct. 6th

Hello everybody!

I've been hard at work on the 105th video project like always, but I thought I'd take some time to share some news.  Starting next Wednesday, groups of students will be visiting the JCHC.  While visiting, they will tour the museum, take a walking tour down Main Street, venture into the Jefferson County Court House, watch a Bowdish Model Railroad show, browse our gift shop, and conduct a scavenger hunt exploring our exhibits.  Today, I had the pleasure of completing the scavenger hunt myself.  I found it to be pretty enjoyable, and I think the kids will feel the same way.  It takes you on a self-guided tour of all the exhibits, and forces you to learn new things in the process.

I'll be sure to share some of the happenings of next Wednesday on the blog.  This should turn out to be a really fun and entertaining day at the museum, and I am definitely going to have some stories to tell!

On a side note:
If you haven't already done so, check out our Facebook page and our Twitter page.  "Like" or "follow" us for up-to-date news and event info.


Friday, September 24, 2010

JCHC Updates: Facebook and Twitter

I thought today I would share some new things that I've done for the JCHC and the blog.  First of all, you might notice the new header image I added to the top of this page.  I designed the image to give a better overall look to the blog.  I used Photoshop to make the simple image, and I found the fonts that are used at a really cool website.  It's called FontSpace, and it's home to thousands of free fonts for you to download and use.

Today was also spent connecting the JCHC beyond my blog and our website.  Social media is a huge medium right now that only continues to grow.  I thought it would be appropriate for the JCHC to have a Facebook page and a Twitter account to keep our patrons updated with news and special events.  I also added a box on the right-hand side of this blog that shows the Facebook updates right here on this page.  Here are the links:



Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, share us with your friends and family, and keep updated!  Enjoy!


Thursday, September 23, 2010

JCHC Fun Fact: Civil War Music

While editing and piecing together video today, I realized this project is lacking music.  I normally work with Pandora Radio playing in the background, so I never really noticed until I paused it to record some narration.  Sure, I could have the narration drive the videos, but that would be boring.  I would definitely be bored watching it, and I'm sure our patrons would also lose interest quickly.  To find a solution to this problem, I did what anybody would do; I searched for "civil war era music" on Google.  I figure putting authentic music in the video would be much more meaningful and appropriate.  On my search, I came across the "Music of the American Civil War" article on Wikipedia.  Reading through the article I found a very interesting fact that struck me.  Take a look at this passage from the article:

"Musical duels between the two sides were common, as they heard each other as the music traveled across the countryside. The night before the Battle of Stones River, bands from both sides dueled with separate songs, until both sides started playing Home! Sweet Home!, at which time soldiers on both sides started singing together as one.[15] A similar situation occurred in Fredericksburg, Virginia in the winter of 1862–3. On a cold afternoon a Union band started playing Northern patriotic tunes; a Southern band responded by playing Southern patriotic tunes. This back and forth continued into the night, until at the end both sides played Home! Sweet Home! simultaneously, to the cheers of both sides' forces.[16] In a third instance, in the spring of 1863, the opposing armies were on the opposite sides of the Rappahannock River in Virginia, when the different sides played their patriotic tunes, and at taps one side played Home! Sweet Home!, and the other joined in, creating "cheers" from both sides that echoed throughout the hilly countryside.[17]"

This amazes me!  Just think, two armies fighting each other by day, both sides suffering numerous casualties and wounds at the hands of one another, and by night, they are engaged in a friendly music competition that ends in a unity.  This, to me, represents the American Civil War very well.  A war fought between brothers, united on many fronts, yet divided and separated by differing views.  It's very poetic.

That Wiki article is also nice because it shows some key songs during the war, arranged by year.  So, I did a search on to see if I could find some of these songs in a compilation, and I found two that I'm going to further look into.  They are:


Both look like they'd be useful resources for this project.  I'll have to listen to some samples of the compilations to see what will be the best for my needs.

I hope you enjoyed learning a new bit of information about Civil War music.  I know I did!


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

JCHC First Look: 105th Menu Setup

A busy day requires two posts :)

I've been working with iDVD to design a format for the project that will allow interactivity through the touch screens in our museum.  What I had in mind was a menu in which you could select a particular year that the regiment was active, and then you would be shown a video of the events that occurred during that year.  I started fooling around with the iDVD program to see what I could come up with.  Here is an early version of what I'm envisioning:

This setup will ideally allow you to just "touch" one of the years and be taken on a visual journey through that year.  We'll see how this all comes together in the future.


JCHC First Look: 105th Title Slides

Back to work this week on the 105th video project.  Instead of spending my day fooling around with Google Earth again, I figured I would spend some time with the overall design of the video.

The first thing I decided needed some work was the opening title for the video.  So, I spent some time with Adobe Photoshop CS5 designing a basic title.  What I came up with was an image of an old Civil War era map on a piece of tattered and worn parchment paper.
Take a look:

The process for making this involved me finding this parchment texture through the Google Image Search:

Then, I had to find a map texture to overlay on the parchment.  Once again, Google Image Search was used to find this:

Once I had the two images that I desired, I did a bit of simple photo editing with Photoshop to layer the images together and blend them into one.

The next step was to add the title text.  For this step I first made a slide with "Tracking the Wild Cats:" and then made a slide with "Tracking the Wild Cats: The Story of the One Hundred and Fifth Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers."  By having two slides that are just slightly different, I was able to transition them together to get a neat effect.

Check out the test video:

That about does it for now...
Time to go work on some more slide design for the video.

As always, feel free to contact me with any questions or comments.


Friday, September 17, 2010

JCHC First Look: 105th Video Test

Today, I decided to start experimenting with screen capture and video editing.  The software that I use to capture the video from Google Earth is called iShowU.  I tested out a few different video screen capture software for Mac OS X, and this one does everything that I want and is relatively easy to use.  For the editing software, I'm running iMovie '08.  In middle school, iMovie had just come out on the market, and my school actually offered a class in iMovie editing (which was one of my favorite classes I've ever taken).  The software has changed a lot since the last time I was an active user, so I'm still getting used to some of the features that this newer version offers.

I did a few tests to see how the editing will work on this video and compiled it into a preview to share.  By no means is this anywhere close to what the final project will look like, but it does offer a little taste into what the end result will include.


Sorry about the end of the video.  I was having a little trouble getting the timing down for the narration, but I wanted to share this preview.  This is still very much a work in progress.  Whenever I have more clips to share, I'll definitely post them.

-- For anybody that uses YouTube, feel free to subscribe to my new channel.  It will be the host to all the videos I make while working at the JCHC.  --

As always, feel free to contact me for questions or comments.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

JCHC First Look: Tracking the 105th

I've been hard at work on a project dealing with not only Jefferson County history, it also has deep ties to Civil War history.  For those of you who don't know, the American Civil War was fought between 1861 and 1865.  Next year, being 2011, marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.  In Pennsylvania, there is a statewide partnership of history organizations coming together to create a project called Pennsylvania Civil War 150 (PACW 150).  PACW 150 will honor and commemorate the lives lost and the freedoms gained through the war.

Because of PACW 150, you can expect new exhibits within the JCHC starting next year.  This is where my project comes into play.  Right here in Brookville, a group of young men were formed into the 105th Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers.  They were active in the war from 1861 all the way to 1865.  Here at the History Center, we thought it would be a good idea to display some artifacts from the 105th, share their photos, and most importantly, tell their story.  Since my goal here at the JCHC involves using technology throughout the museum, I started planning a project that will present the story of the 105th in an interactive manner.  In the museum, we have some touch screen monitors that include some narratives to go along with the exhibits.  My goal is to use one of these monitors to display a video made by using Google Earth that displays not only the locations the 105th found themselves, but also narratives of the events at each major location (battle information, outcome, assignments, etc.).  I envision being able to walk up to the touch screen, touch what year you'd like to hear about, and then being taken on the journey with the 105th.

Yesterday, I finished plotting the points within Google Earth for this project.  Here is what it looks like:

Each of the yellow pushpins represents a certain date that was important to the 105th.  At each of the pushpins, a balloon filled with text pops up, describing the events that took place at that location on that date.  Here is what one looks like:

Once I have all the balloon captions to my liking, the next step will be to screen capture the "flight" from one pushpin to another.  At each pin, the balloon will pop up and the text will be visible.  However, my plan is to also narrate the video once all the screen capture is done and I start the video editing.  Click here for a very low quality example of what video will eventually look like.  (Note: the software used to take this screen capture is not the same that will be used to make the actual video...the choppiness will disappear in the final project)

That about wraps up the first look into my first project at JCHC.  Be sure to check back for more updates in the near future.  If you have questions or comments, feel free to contact me.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

JCHC Grad Assistant Blog: Introduction


My name is Nathan Pearce.  In the spring of 2010, I graduated from Clarion University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Secondary Education Social Studies.  I decided at that time that I wanted to continue on and get a graduate degree.  So, I enrolled in Clarion University's Master of Education program with a concentration in Technology.  The same time that I applied for the Master's program, I also applied for a position as a graduate assistant.  Fortunately enough, the History Department at Clarion offered me a position at the Jefferson County History Center in Brookville, Pennsylvania.

This blog is my attempt to document and share my work while at the JCHC.  My position as graduate assistant is one that has a lot of flexibility.  Since I do have a background in Social Studies education and I am currently learning how to properly use and incorporate technology for educational purposes, I am focusing my efforts at the Historical Center on technology.  I'm currently learning how to manage the website (bear with me!).  I am also working on an ambitious project dealing with the Civil War.  Using Google Earth, I am plotting the different locations of major happenings of the 105th Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers (these guys were mostly from Jefferson County) and documenting the battles and events in which they were exposed.  I plan on making an interactive display using a touch-screen monitor that will provide a narrated, visual tour through these locations.  This display will be incorporated in our future exhibit on the 105th.

Be on the lookout for images, links, and other media dealing with my projects and work as the graduate assistant at the Jefferson County History Center.