Final Project: My Rome Studies Exhibition

The idea for my final project came to me after learning about Tropy and Omeka and using them to capture metadata and build exhibits. We had to create an exhibition using photographs of items we found in our kitchens. And I liked those digital tools so much that I thought about using them to develop a site to show some of the images I took while studying abroad in Rome.

During the summer of 2019, I spent six weeks in Rome studying ancient Rome, focusing on Roman art and urban traditions. It was such a fantastic learning experience that I wanted to share it with fellow students who are thinking about studying abroad, people that enjoy ancient art and architecture in general, and, of course, family and friends.

I explained the idea for my exhibition with Dr. Mullen, and we discussed multiple possible approaches to organize my project, such as chronologically, geographically, or thematically. I opted up for the latter and came up with four sub-themes:

  1. Archaeological Sites
  2. Iconic Artworks
  3. Historical Landmarks
  4. I was not sure yet about the title, but I wanted to have a section to display some activities beyond the academic framework.

I decided to enter the data using Tropy and to create the site with Omeka afterward. I started by selecting the most relevant pictures from a pool of over six hundred, ending with around fifty images for my exhibition. To document each photo, I gathered information from Dr. Gregg’s lectures and other relevant sources, such as the museums’ websites that displayed the artworks, the official sites for the archaeological digs, etc. Once I had all the data, I proceeded to fill up the metadata for each image.

I chose Tropy to manage the metadata because I knew about a plugin to export from Tropy to Omeka; however, the plugin was designed for Omeka S and did not work with Omeka Classic, the exhibit builder I had. Therefore, I started to enter the metadata information directly into Omeka, which happened to be easier than with Tropy.

I then went on building my collections and my exhibit. When I thought that my site was in good shape, I submitted it for revision, receiving helpful feedback from Laura and Holly. Laura mentioned that I should make the experience more personal by injecting my thoughts and impressions into the project. Additionally, she suggested expanding the “About” page and perhaps including a map to add a spatial visualization component. I followed through with her suggestions expanding the “About” page, and created and added a map indicating the archaeological sites we visited during the program. I also started to write the items’ descriptions with a more personal vision, but I still need to revise my first entries accordingly.

Holly commented about wanting to learn more about the students’ impressions. She probably thought I was part of the teaching crew and not a student. But she gave me a great idea; she suggested including a map indicating the best places to eat gelato in Rome. I am planning to add that soon.

When I made my project available for revision, I had entered two items in the “Archaeological Sites” collection and was planning to enter three more. Still, I went a bit overboard, ending up with ten archaeological sites, perhaps because it was my favorite part of the program. In addition, I completed the “Historical Landmarks” and “Iconic Works” collections which now have ten items each as planned.

Finally, I added a fourth collection called “Enjoying the City of Rome.” Here I am adding images of extracurricular and more personal activities. This section only has four items at the moment, but this is a work in progress, and I will keep adding and revising this project after this course is over. I have greatly enjoyed doing this project, and I genuinely hope to be involved in the process of building exhibitions in the future.

Here is the link to my project. I hope you enjoy it!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *