The Keweenaw Time Traveler's Explore App is getting an overhaul—at last! Since we launched in late 2017, the Explore App has been growing. The city directory data already connected to Sanborn Fire Insurance Plans have been joined by business directories and additional color maps. The most exciting growth has come from users adding story points. People add newspaper clips, memories of their families, and students add their historical research. There's even a recent marriage proposal story!
But also a lot of growth has been happening behind the scenes. Faculty, staff, and students in Michigan Tech's Geospatial Research Facility have been developing historical data sets to be mapped. An amazing set of records from the Calumet Schools have been transcribed and mapped. Census records from 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940 are almost complete. A set of almost 40,000 Calumet & Hecla employee cards are also being digitized, transcribed, and mapped thanks to a major grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources. Most importantly, the individual names in all of these records are being connected to one another and to residences on the maps so you will be able see connections between people and places over time.
Until now, however, the Explore App has not had the capacity to make these additional historical records available. But thanks to a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and additional funding from the Advisory Commission of the Keweenaw National Historical Park, we are redesigning the Explore App to make more data more accessible to more people. We have teamed up with Monte Consulting in Houghton, a nationally recognized web developer to create a powerful and beautiful new Explore App.
In December 2020, we held the first of several design charrettes to get guidance from users and colleagues. Thanks to all who participated! Your feedback helped us and Monte move forward. Right now, programming is underway and we can't wait to show you an updated version and get more of your ideas. Keep an eye open for announcements in the Spring!