Picturing the Seasonal Changes at Your Historic Site

Views of the exhibit gallery under construction in January, February, March, and April 2012 at the Museum of History and Industry.

The Museum of History and Industry in Seattle is moving into a new facility this year and to give the public a chance to experience the work and construction progress behind-the-scenes, they’ve installed a webcam overlooking the main exhibit gallery.  Webcams aren’t a new idea (remember the panda cubs at the National Zoo?) but what’s clever about the construction camera provided by OxBlue is that users can see timelapse movies and four views for different dates at the same time.

Many historic sites change their programs, events, and exhibits throughout the year to reflect the changing seasons, but I wonder if this same system could be used to interpret seasons or longer events to understand process or change over time.  For example, viewers could watch:

  • planting and harvesting at an historic farm
  • seasonal cycles in a landscape from spring to winter
  • growth and decline of an individual plant or crop, such as corn, cotton, or sugar
  • restoration of a building over several months
  • archaeological excavation during a summer season

Because these images are viewed live online, they provide an immediacy and authenticity that’s hard to beat and can help visitors, members, and supporters better understand the what happens at historic sites.