Meet the Chronicle’s Team
Happy New Year! Welcome to the first edition of the blog for the Chronicle of African Americans in the Horse Industry.
This blog will chronicle the Chronicle, in a sense. We will share insights into the process of building a digital history website and share the backstory of how this project came about. Look forward to progress updates as we build a new and innovative tool that will delve into the depths of an unacknowledged past.
The Chronicle project began in late 2018, but really started years earlier with research and development of the museum’s exhibit, Black Horsemen of the Kentucky Turf. Thanks to funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services, the museum is able to take this great exhibition and make it deeper, richer, and more accessible to more audiences.
The museum’s permanent exhibit honoring a select few African American horsemen and women opened in April 2018.
Our first (and ongoing) job is to focus on understanding the various needs of the website’s future users. We need input for the Chronicle to become a useful tool. Next, we will develop the first version of the website to house and display existing research that is primarily Kentucky-centered. After testing this site, we will expand the scope to include nationwide collections on all aspects of African Americans in the horse industry. If all goes as planned, the fully functional national chronicle will go live in late 2020!
Meet the Team
The Chronicle will be an ongoing co-creation. A collaborative and diverse team is designing the website, will bring it to life, and will nurture its growth long after the website’s launch.
International Museum of the Horse
Digital Project Manager Karen Lanier was hired to coordinate the Chronicle’s development. She works alongside the museum staff which includes the education coordinator, the curator of collections, the art department, IT support, and the museum’s director.
Project Advisory Committee
A diverse team of professionals with experience in public and digital history, African American topics, the horse industry, and archives are represented on the advisory committee. They are the ambassadors of the Chronicle in the academic, museum, and equine communities, and serve as valuable guides to making this digital history website relatable and useful.
The advisory committee convened in-person at the museum in early December 2018 and will stay connected throughout the process ahead. (Pictured, l-r: Bill Cooke, Katherine Mooney, Yvonne Giles, David McKenzie, Jim Casey, Sarah Dorpinghaus, Amy Beisel, Ashlee Chilton, Travis Robinson, and James Shambhu)
Two additional team members offer a balance of community engagement strategies and technical expertise. Kate Haley Goldman is helping with the planning phase by leading audience conversations. She draws on her experience with similar websites that focus on sensitive cultural topics. Michael Tedeschi is a web developer who specializes in interactive museum exhibits, both online and in-person. He will help build the internal website structure that will support the user’s experience.
Kate Haley Goldman (left) discusses similar digital history projects over lunch in the exhibit. (Also pictured, l-r: Jim Casey, Travis Robinson, Vanessa Holden, and James Shambhu)
Bill Cooke and Yvonne Giles years of research culminated in the museum’s exhibit, Black Horsemen of the Kentucky Turf. Their wealth of material is the foundation on which the Chronicle will be built. For example, Yvonne’s meticulous research has revealed more than 80 African American horsemen buried in Lexington’s African American Cemetery #2. Bill and Yvonne compile ever-growing lists of people to include in the Chronicle and will share their own unique perspectives in upcoming blogs.
Since Lexington, Kentucky is the horse capital of the world, the museum is perfectly situated to work hand-in-hand with local community groups such as Phoenix Rising Lex. Their mission is to recognize, preserve, promote and provide access to the cultural history of Lexington’s early horse racing industry. (More about them in an upcoming blog.) We look forward to spreading the word and finding more pockets of interest within the local community.
Join the Team!
If you have a connection to African Americans in the horse industry and would like to be involved in the development of the Chronicle, please contact Karen Lanier, Digital Project Manager, by email at [email protected] or by phone at 859-259-4279.
This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.