Websites, moderated and hosted by a museum, that offer a virtual space for people to gather around a common experience, exhibit or interest, the way a bricks and mortar museum does.
Jury Chair: Tan Huism
Deputy Director (Curation and Collections), Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore
GOLD: O Say Can You Sing? National Anthem Singing Contest
National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution and Night Kitchen
Judges said: The O Say Can You Sing National Anthem Singing Contest should be commended for their ability to engage the public to learn about an important symbol of America in a non-propagandistic manner. It taps on popular culture (for example singing contests like American Idol, use of YouTube and Twitter) to generate public interest in the history of the flag and the national anthem. There is public participation not just virtually through submissions of entries and voting, but also physical visits to the museum during the Flag Day celebrations. The contest also resulted in having a champion for the project – the contest winner – whom the public could relate to.
Producers said: On September 14, 1814, U.S. soldiers at Baltimore’s Fort McHenry raised a huge American flag to celebrate a crucial victory over British forces during the War of 1812. The sight of those “broad stripes and bright stars” inspired Francis Scott Key to write a song that eventually became the United States national anthem. Key’s words gave new significance to a national symbol and started a tradition through which generations of Americans have invested the flag with their own meanings and memories. The National Museum of American History thought that a singing contest would be a fun way to dispel the notion that history is boring and engage people with the story of their flag and national anthem. Inviting the public to participate with us on YouTube fits well with the idea that the Star-Spangled Banner—and the flag that inspired it—belongs to everyone. Over 800 eligible entries were submitted and thousands of people rated and commented on their favorite singers. Jordan Shelton of Arvada, Colo., was selected as the grand-prize winner and was invited to perform the national anthem at the museum and at the Baltimore Orioles versus Atlanta Braves game in Baltimore on Flag Day, June 14, 2009.
Washington State History Museum
Judges said: COLUMBIAKids is a very attractive website which functions like an on-line magazine. The site should be commended for involving children’s authors and illustrators to work on the content which makes the site more appealing to the young readers. It is a useful resource for teachers. The site has many interesting sections to engage the readers – the jurors especially like CollectionConnundrum which teaches children how to look at objects and podPuzzle.
Producers said: COLUMBIAKids is a free online magazine that features exciting, interesting, and informative articles and stories based in Pacific Northwest history. Our target readers are children up to age 14 who live in the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska, but we are also happy to find that our readers come to us from all over the world.
The main goal of COLUMBIAKids is to present history in engaging, fun, and informative ways both in the family setting and in the classroom. We support family literacy both by working with established children’s authors and by using varied media and formats to help kids explore the amazing people, places, objects, and events in Northwest history.
A (little) sister publication to the Washington State Historical Society’s print journal COLUMBIA: the Magazine of Northwest History, COLUMBIAKids is entirely sponsor-supported. We do not have any advertising and spend our funds on top-notch writers and illustrators instead of printing and postage. Here at COLUMBIAKids, we think “outside of the book.”
BRONZE: ADDRESS AMERICA: Six Words to Inspire a Nation
National Constitution Center
Judges said: The strength of “Six Words to Inspire a Nation” lies in its strong proposition – the opportunity to make a difference with 6 words. The website allows readers to participate by leaving feedback – adding to the interactivity of the website.
Producers said: When President Obama gave his Inaugural Address on January 20, 2009, millions of Americans watched, anxiously anticipating his inspiring words. Through a unique collaboration between the National Constitution Center and SMITH Magazine, the public was given the opportunity to have their say about what they thought those inspiring words should be. ADDRESS AMERICA: Six Words to Inspire a Nation enabled thousands of people to suggest the half-dozen words they hoped to hear in the President’s inaugural speech, creating a shared agenda for our nation, one person at a time.
ADDRESS AMERICA allowed “We the People” to engage directly in one of the most historic inaugurations in a generation, giving them the chance to be active citizens by making their voices heard. In conjunction with ADDRESS AMERICA, the National Constitution Center created a lesson plan which was made available to teachers on the project website. The lesson teaches students about the history of the Presidential Inaugural Address and provides a framework for them to write a “six word inaugural.” The lesson opens with an introduction to the power of six words, and then asks students to read inaugural addresses of the past to examine how presidents have used this unique oration.
Clement Onn, Assistant Curator (South Asia), Asian Civilisations Museum
Jennifer Quong, Manager, Marketing & Corporate Communications, Asian Civilisations Museum
Barbara Fras, Manager, Programmes, Peranakan Museum, Sim Wan Hui, Deputy Director, Communications, Programmes & Development
Tan Siu Li, Assistant Curator, Singapore Art Museum
Julia Chee, Deputy Director, Oral History Centre, National Archives of Singapore, Singapore Art Museum
Jean Hair, Assistant Manager, Programmes, The National Art Gallery, Singapore
Szan Tan, Curator (Exhibitions), National Museum of Singapore
Soo Hui Wah, Deputy Director, Heritage Education, Education and Outreach, National Heritage Board