With Moor Stories on the verge of going live the team have been busy in generating content to go on the site. The content that will be available to look at, both online and via your mobile, will come from a variety of perspectives and highlights the diverse aims and results of the Moor Stories project. RAMM generated content will show information and some of the history of each parish on Dartmoor and details relating to objects that are connected with the physical and cultural landscape of the region. These locations, objects and information tied to them represent the factual element of the site, and aim to convey both an understanding of our material past and also a sense of context for the historical artefacts in the museum’s collection. This material will help users to learn more about the history of the moor and it is hoped it will encourage Dartmoor visitors and enthusiasts to generate their own content and share images, fact, information and stories related to Dartmoor’s historic and cultural landscape.
At another point on the Moor Story spectrum, the workshop we conducted at St Leonards School earlier in the year produced a number of Moor Stories which will also be part of the launched product. Having taken a number of artefacts, images and sources of information to the school, the children wrote a collection of Moor Stories which were inspired by the day’s events. These works of junior literature mix the factual with the fictional and display how the children used their imagination and writing ability to make connections between the material we gave to them and their sense of the past. By using the tools provided we can see how the children viewed life on the moor and through storytelling reveals in their own words how people survived in the past, engaged with one another and how some of the material in the museum may have come to be there.
The nature of this material, both factual and fictional shows the benefits of merging the physical elements of our cultural landscape and the digital. Firstly, Moor Stories allows users to explore the past in context, by placing artefacts and historical information relevant to the places they originated from. The site and web app provides users with the opportunity to view stories relevant to the areas they either wish to visit or indeed are in themselves and this connected relationship allows us and our users to understand the cultural environment of the moor and to develop a stronger understanding of the purpose and relevance of the items displayed from the museum’s collections. Secondly, Moor Stories provides users with the opportunity to share their thoughts, knowledge and creativity with other visitors to the site and mobile content, and allows us to return to the old oral traditions of storytelling and the passing on of knowledge that are associated to the history of Dartmoor.
In all the project represents how digital technology can be used both physically and mentally in order to immerse oneself in the cultural landscape of an area of rich and varied histories and traditions. It also provides a connectedness between people, the museum and each other, and delivers the platform to create a digital record of a place through an interesting cultural mixture of knowledge, exploration and creativity.
Myself and the rest of the team look forward to seeing it grow.