It’s been a little over a week now since the Institute ended.  The second meeting was very different from the first because we were all working on our projects while we were in Michigan.  We had informative lectures in the morning about a variety of topics then worked on our projects in the afternoon.  It was really great to sit in a room full of people who were making things that didn’t previously exist.  It was a week of intensely focused work and it was incredible!  It was honestly an inspiration to work with such a positive, productive group.  Although everyone worked on their own project it felt like we were working as a team.  We helped each other out by listening and trouble-shooting together and we shared our experiences of successes and failures.  The second meeting forged long-term friendships and partnerships that will continue even though the Institute is over.  It was hard to say goodbye to everyone – I miss all my friends and the amazing team we formed.

As far as my project goes, I’m continuing to work towards the launch.  I hoped it would be ready to share at this point, but I’ve hit some snags.  Although my project hasn’t launched, I’ve accomplished a lot since my last post.  All my individual artifact photos are ready.  While this might not sound like a big accomplishment, it took many hours of removing the background from photos, putting in a new black background and a digital scale, and making images that show both the front and back of the artifact.  I think it’s about 45 photos.  I also created half of the RTI videos.  This involved recording my computer screen while I manipulated RTI software, annotating important features on the tools, and then editing the video.  They’re each 30-40 seconds long and show closeups of cut marks and usewear under different lighting conditions.  I started experimenting with Sketchfab and getting the 3D models ready to share.  Sketchfab is an excellent platform and I’ve enjoyed learning how to use it.  The text for the website is done.  All I have left to prepare are a few group photos of artifacts, finish the RTI videos, and finish up the 3D content.  At launch the virtual museum will feature socketed bone points, composite bone fishhooks, bone fish gorges, shark teeth tools, sawfish teeth tools, ceramics, wooden shafts from inside the socketed bone points, and a possible wooden pole.

I’m waiting to hear back about the status of my website proposal, but I’m hopeful the material will be up soon.  After putting so much work into this, I’m very excited to share it with the world.  I think the museum will be great for members of the public who are interested in archaeology or the past, for students conducting research online, and for other archaeologists working with bone tools.  My primary goal was to create an educational narrative about the archaeological site and collections through an immersive digital environment.  The content I’ve created will definitely achieve that goal.  Once the website is up and running, I’ll begin the process of adding a second set of artifacts to the museum.  Like the initial set of artifacts, this set will have high-quality photos, RTI videos, 3D content, and informative text.  Although the Institute is coming to an end, I feel like my project is just about to take off.

Thank you to the staff and participants in the Institute.  It has been a truly remarkable experience.