In 2009 the Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Vermont installed our first Omeka server. Earlier efforts for building online image or document collections used dSpace and ContentDM. However, though these options allowed us to build collections, we wanted a program that would allow us to create exhibits. The difference? While both are curated, an online collection is a database of objects in no determined order. An online exhibit allows the creator to frame the objects, images, or documents with a narrative, providing a designed pathway through the collection. In addition, we wanted these collections and exhibits to be built by students in the context of a course project.

With Omeka, faculty could create opportunities for students to work directly with museum objects, primary documents, and their own writing and images, to curate and build online collections. Then, through their research and writing, students could develop those collections into an exhibit.

To date, students from 14 courses have collected, curated, narrated, and designed exhibits using over 1500 items. Objects have been drawn from the University of Vermont's Fleming Museum, the UVM Library Special Collections, images drawn from multiple sources, and students' own photographs. These projects have been built by students in first-year through graduate classes.

While we are proud of our students' works, it is important to note that the objectives did not always include completing a fully realized, polished, final result. The emphasis has been on the process of building and developing scholarly skills such as curation, developing metadata, and crafting narratives.

Students have learned how to:

  • search through manuscript and document archives
  • select and curate museum objects, or search online for representative, copyright legal, images
  • create digital facsimiles of historic documents
  • develop standards-based metadata for those objects, documents, or images
  • transcribe historic documents
  • encode historic documents according to current scholarly standards using the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) Guidelines
  • develop an understanding of the process of creating a scholarly online resource

Exhibits based on documents selected from Library Special Collections include:

Exhibits based on objects in the Fleming Museum include:

Exhibits based on objects collected form multiple sources or photographed by the students include:

While we have tried to make sure we comply with all copyright issues, if you are a rights holder for one or more items in this archive and have questions about or objections to the use of the items herein, please contact Hope Greenberg. We hope that you will be willing to continue to allow us to display the object and will be happy to add credits or remove the item if that is your desire. If you seek permission to use any of the objects in this archive or want to obtain a higher resolution image, please refer to the Collection field in the object's record to identify the owner of the original.