This project will be a collaborative effort among The Peabody Essex Museum, the House of the Seven Gables, the Salem Maritime National Historic Site, and colleges and high schools to create and pilot an interactive Web site on Nathaniel Hawthorne. This site will link materials in these museums' Hawthorne collections to six topics important to Hawthorne's life and work and will include a virtual tour of Hawthorne's Salem. The site will make available a wide array of Hawthorne source materials currently available only to those able to travel to Salem. Also, the site will offer an online, topic-based archive of the source materials as well as choices of paths connecting them and commentary and learning activities which invite students to interpret and analyze the relationship of these materials to Hawthorne's life, times, and literary works. Thus the project will be a model for using museum materials to teach literature, history, or American Studies.
In the first year, in consultation with the project director, content assistant, and the Advisory Board, made up of the museum curators, seven Hawthorne scholars, and a material culture historian, three teams of instructors will develop a total of nine multimedia paths using The Scarlet Letter, The House of the Seven Gables, and "Young Goodman Brown," as well as one other novel and five other short stories selected by the instructors. Each team will create two multimedia paths focused on two of the six topics; each path will begin with a painting, drawing, object, document, or photograph from the museums or with an excerpt from videos created for the project. The student will then select from a menu of source material which will be linked to documents and images as well as related passages in Hawthorne's fiction. Each team will also create a third path which will begin with two short stories and excerpts from one novel related to one or both of their two chosen topics and moves through multimedia links back to source material. In addition, the teams will develop learning activities using these online materials which will place the student in the role of research scholar. Then in the second year, the area instructors will pilot the Web site.
In the third year, five instructors from across the country will supplement and use these materials in their classes, and the site will be made available to the general public. In addition, we will post online lectures by area Hawthorne scholars as well as additional museum source material on the site. When the grant period ends, we will work with the museums to maintain and expand the site. Thus teachers and students everywhere will have access to extensive online Hawthorne resources and can create their own materials and projects on their Web sites using these resources. Moreover, the project will be a model for such an approach to writers associated with other regions.
The most significant resources for this project will be the Hawthorne collections of the participating Salem museums and the expertise of the seven Hawthorne scholars. In addition, the content assistant, who is a Brandeis doctoral candidate writing several chapters of his dissertation on Hawthorne, and the curators of the participating museums will assist instructors in selecting material for the Web site. Finally, David Masher, an award-winning multimedia designer, will be the media designer for the project and will work closely with participating faculty.
The project will undergo formative and summative evaluations by two evaluators. Margaret B. Moore, a Hawthorne scholar and secretary of the Hawthorne Society, will assess content; Professor Thomas Cushman, a research social scientist and Chair of the Sociology Department at Wellesley College, will assess the pedagogy and use of technology. In addition to using our Web site to disseminate information about the project, the project directors and media designer will make at least two presentations at regional and national conferences and will submit articles to professional journals.