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    « Capturing Unique Speech in Your Family History | Main | Lessons from a Self Publishing Author's Experience »

    Interactive Timeline Takeaway

    We were in the Bay Area this past weekend and stopped in to Oakland’s excellent museum to see how the California history exhibit has been faring in our absence. I love museums, not just for their collections, but for the art of exhibiting information itself. Reading books is nice, but even I am willing to concede that interactive learning beats all.

    Here’s one interactive exhibit I thought was a great idea for family historians. The timeline spans a long wall, so many people can view it and post on it at the same time. Imagine their conversations as they make their choices for the most important events of the year.

    I can see many applications for this exercise, which could be set up temporarily and inexpensively at a family reunion, a seminar, or a book planning session. And it’s adaptable: just change the timeline to decades, for a longer-in-scope book, or to months or even weeks, for a memoir spanning a shorter period.

    The key, I think, is the post-it notes. (What a brilliant invention – how did we ever live without them?) We recently suggested using index cards to get organized in one of our seminars, but some folks just couldn’t envision the color-coding. Anyone can get organized with post-its.


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    Reader Comments (2)

    What a fabulous idea! And what an easy way to get people involved in telling the stories about their family. You're right, it can be as inexpensive as getting a roll of newspaper end, a marker and a package of post-it notes. You're wise to check out the museum and see their displays. :)

    Mar 18, 2011 at 10:22AM | Unregistered CommenterLaurel

    Thanks for posting!
    Yes, isn't that a clever idea? Part of the charm of the exhibit was the everyday aspect of post-it notes, suggesting that you can do this too.
    The Oakland Museum has an incredible collection of artifacts, and even better, they've moved toward a more interactive experience in recent years. I have a few more of their exhibits to blog about, so check out the upcoming blogs on crowd-sourced mapping and guided story recording.

    Mar 18, 2011 at 5:23PM | Registered CommenterNan Barnes

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