A project by IUPUI students to preserve the history of the only elected president from Indiana is just one of dozens that will be featured in this semester’s Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing Capstone event.
Students in Zebulun M. Wood’s media arts and science class have been working with the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site for several semesters on projects to help digitize the museum.
Their work includes scanning artifacts so they can be stored and viewed digitally, and creating the first online virtual reality presidential museum, which Zeb hopes can be done for other presidential sites, too.
Students also created a crowdfunded 3D printing of a life-sized Benjamin Harrison, individual pieces of which can be printed and mailed by sponsors all over the world, and then repeatedly assembled and reassembled by museum visitors, a project they also hope can be replicated at other presidential sites across the nation.
Students worked in collaboration with the University Library Center for Digital Scholarship, which scanned the items for the students to create the virtual museum and 3D-printed statue.
Their project will be one of many on display on Friday during the school’s Student Project Showcase, from 4 to 7 p.m. in the Informatics & Communications Technology Complex, at 535 W. Michigan St. The event is free and open to the public.
Students will be displaying thousands of hours of invested into community-engaged projects, from apps to virtual reality experiences and assessing and creating marketing projects.
Zeb hopes that leading the way in this work will help his students build their skills, and also, create the potential for more jobs in the future.
Sarah Worthington, a student who served as team leader on the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site project, said she learned a lot through the work, including how to handle situations that didn’t go as planned.
“I had to relearn how to take constructive criticism, when I thought that I already knew how to do so, and to communicate in situations that I would otherwise have preferred to brush off or avoid,” she said.
“I used to think that my career would be me sitting at a desk, being told to do something, doing it, and then getting paid, but this project showed me that there’s a lot more to it than that.”
“Working with students allows the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site to explore and test novel solutions to longstanding museum challenges, including reaching diverse communities and building and sustaining the next generation of visitors,” said Charles Hyde, president and CEO of the site.
The students helped the museum avoid the status quo and come up with exciting – and often unconventional – solutions, and expects the partnership will continue, he said.
“We’ve challenged ourselves to become recognized as ‘the most innovative, impactful, and civically-engaged presidential site in the country by 2020,’ and our student and faculty partners have been invaluable in sharing their time, talent, and technical experience in helping us achieve this ambitious vision,” he said.