09 September 2014

US Museums Explorer -- a neat way to quickly locate cultural heritage where you or your ancestors lived!

We are always seeking data and much data is hidden in the most interesting places.  Sometimes though we are challenged to identify where to look for where we might find interesting “stuff!”  Once you get beyond ... Archivegrid ... it talks a lot of persistence to identify local repositories, especially if they have no online presence and/or no online catalog.

Given this, it was interesting to read Omeka Developer Connects Museum Data to Wikipedia with Surprising Results. The outcome of this project is something called (US) Museums Explorer.  As the creator states ...

To my delight, being able to put the museums on a map and search by what’s nearby led me to discover the quite charming and informative Arlington Historical Museum not far from where I live. I doubt I would have discovered it without the data file. How many others might have a similar experience?

It is a neat tool where you put in your zip code and it gives you a list of Museums located within so many miles of that zip code. you can narrow your search to a particular type of Museum (e.g. Historical Societies, Historic Preservation).

Not to boast and NC created, starting in 1999, something called NC ECHO (shorthand for North Carolina Exploring Cultural Heritage Online).  If I ever need to seek out cultural heritage, this is the first place I go.  There are so many diverse places where one might find history and records (including those of genealogical value) in NC and it used to be hard to determine where all these gems were hidden!  Though you cannot access these via a zip code search (as you can for the Museums Explorer), you can select a county and see a list of both cultural institutions as well as information on historical documents, maps, images and much much more!

Has your state created a similar type of resource?

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