By way of an introduction

I’m a newbie to The Record, having returned to California about a month ago after a few years in New York City. As a Calaveras native and Bret Harte grad, it’s great to be back in the area.

One of my first few projects for Recordnet.com was this interactive exploring 80 years of the McKee Student Art Contest & Exhibition over at The Haggin Museum.

I’d never been to The Haggin before (or even Victory Park), so it was fascinating to explore the grounds and learn about the history of the museum and the city. Curator of Archival Collections Kimberly Bray kindly provided archival photos spanning the 80 years of the exhibit’s run, and it was fun to look at the changing hairstyles and clothing through the years. Here’s a few that didn’t make it into the final presentation:

1960s prize winners Bonita Keller and Ramon Becerra with the museum director:

1960s prize winners Bonita Keller and Ramon Becerra with museum director

1990s show:

1990s RTM show

The interactive was built with Vuvox, which is a free, flexible mashup tool for multimedia presentations. These can include images, text, video, audio and links. You can get really elaborate with their collage tool – cutting out elements and creating media “hotspots” – or just use the “express” tool to quickly generate slideshows (which can be pulled from your personal Flickr or Picasa account).

I’m always excited to find free tools like Vuvox floating around on the web, if they’re customizable enough. They can really speed up turnover on projects. Some others I like a lot:

  • amMap: A highly customizable Flash mapping tool (you just edit a few XML files). For when Google Maps just aren’t enough. There’s also amCharts, which I haven’t used yet, but I assume it’s similar!
  • Wordle: Everyone I know was playing with word clouds a few years back, and sometimes they can still be really interesting (particularly for visually analyzing speeches)
  • Blog Talk Radio: Host your own live radio show! All you need is a telephone. And hopefully a plan.
  • Scribd: For embedding PDFs, PowerPoint presentations, and more…

If you’ve got other cool tools and resources, share them with me!

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