Project Reconstruction – Reconstruction Era collection for education

The Second Founding of America is an organisation that brings together a collaboration of educators, scholars, public officials, artists and community leaders to uncover and teach untold stories of the Reconstruction Era during, and following, the Civil War.

We partnered with them to develop Project Reconstruction, a comprehensive resource to promote their collection of U.S. Reconstruction Era archival materials and historical documents for teachers in the US.

The project currently includes more than 70 collections and approximately 1500 items of primary and secondary sources that focus on the Reconstruction Era (1861 – 1900). These resources are hosted across different digital archives and online collections. 

We were tasked with making the collection accessible and highly discoverable for education use as well as providing a great experience for all users.

A modern brand identity

We worked closely with the project team to develop the brand and identity for the project, including a logo and colour scheme. 

A collection of custom icons and backgrounds were also developed as part of the project, to illustrate each of the content types and different collections available. 

It was important that aligned with the new organisational branding while also maintaining a distinct identity for the project. 

An exceptional user experience for education & discovery

Users can search or browse by different metadata content as well as explore the site via the subcollections. By focusing on discoverability, the project brings this collection to a wider audience, and facilitates and promotes the use of these valuable archival materials in teaching and learning. 

The collection was beta tested with a group of teachers to identify any issues and to ensure a smooth user experience.  

The platform was developed in Omeka Classic, an open-source extensible content management system for online digital collections. 

We are continuing to work with the Project Construction team to roll out new exhibits and provide training for staff and volunteers.

If you’d like to know more about Omeka Classic or online exhibit platforms in general, see our previous blog post A Brief Guide to Online Exhibit Platforms here.