You can find it here. Not so coincidentally, this is also the address of my final project. Because I am using Omeka for the project, I went ahead and got the whole site ready–at least with fillers for the pages, to give an idea of the site structure and the navigation.

Working with Omeka for this assignment was a trying but will be, I think, ultimately a rewarding experience. It was trying because I haven’t used PHP before, so I was flying partly blind. That led, for example, to several hours of me trying to figure out how to make my exhibit sections menu my primary menu, while also including a link back to the homepage. I ultimately gave up this pursuit, instead manually putting in each exhibit section into the PHP–hence why every page also shows the homepage as the current section (if anyone has any suggestions for this, please do let me know!). Thankfully, the Omeka Codex came to my rescue more than once.

To create the design for my site, I began with Omeka’s From Scratch theme. After some time, though, I gave up with it; I discovered that it was not structured for the most up-to-date version of Omeka. I also realized that I did not have the most up-to-date version of Omeka.

So I upgraded, and while that was happening I made my header graphic. For that, I took a Library of Congress map from 1837, did some necessary repairs (large parts of Illinois were missing, for example), and recolored it. I then cut out Santa Anna from a background and placed him on the side of the map. Finally, I traced the route of the journey, and added the lettering.

While I made the header graphic, I gave more thought to the color scheme for the overall site. Generally picking colors is not my favorite thing, and I’m not so confident in my skills; when asked to do a poster at work recently, I was relieved when asked to match a certain branding! For this, I was looking for something that evoked early 19th century, and also the United States and Mexico. However, I did not want a Southwestern theme a la Omeka’s Santa Fe theme (which I did use for my final project last semester–the database from which my project this term is drawn). The reason: this project doesn’t specifically focus on the Southwest, and indeed, my dissertation will likely leave out the borderlands (focusing on the “cores” of the United States and Mexico).

Especially after I discarded that “usual suspect” color scheme, I found that picking a color scheme for a transnational project is difficult! Like Beth, I didn’t want to exoticize Mexico, so I didn’t want to go with the national colors or anything that looked like it came from the tourism board. So in the end, I went back to the color scheme I’ve used for the rest of my portfolio: a mellow yellow with a dark red. I added a darker blue, which I hope helps evoke the Early U.S. Republic, and generally that period’s aesthetic, without being overly “patriotic.”

Once I had upgraded Omeka, I went into one of the four themes that came with that new installation: Seasons. I duplicated the folder for that one, and went to town creating my own theme, which I called “Santa Anna Goes to Washington” (creative, I know). I went into the CSS and modified. After a while, a design scheme started to come together. I kept the same fonts that I used in my type assignment, and even used my favorite (one) ornament!

Like when I did my portfolio page, I had trouble getting the menu bar as I wanted it; perhaps I’m overly picky with those? I hoped to have a border between each of the items, but because of my lack of knowledge of PHP I couldn’t figure it out (that awaits next semester). And there is my aforementioned issue with the start page remaining highlighted, no matter what page someone is using. I’m also debating whether I want the secondary navigation (the pages of each section) to have a different background color–I’m unsure whether my ornament is enough division.

So, I’m open to any suggestions! As part of this week’s assignment, we are each critiquing one of our classmates. So tomorrow, I will do my critique of Amber’s. Claire, go to town on mine!