David Patrick McKenzie

Digital Public Historian

Preliminary final project

My preliminary final project is live: http://davidmckenzie.info/projects/exhibits/show/santa-anna-goes-to-washington

I feel like it’s coming along. It’s coming along a bit more slowly than I had hoped, but it is coming along. Thus far I’ve found working with Omeka both challenging and rewarding. Rewarding, because it’s taken a learning curve to crack, and because it will give me more flexibility to include more items, particularly as the design solidifies. Challenging, for those same reasons. I have gone back to my CSS repeatedly, as I’ve added more items and realized, oh wait, that didn’t work so well. Not long ago, I expanded my main content container to give everything more breathing room.

A couple continuing issues:

  • The secondary navigation, i.e., the left menu bar. Overall I’m happy with how it’s turned out, except that some page titles get cut off. I’m not sure if it’s an issue with my padding and margins; anyone have thoughts?
  • I may need to go into Omeka’s exhibit page layouts and make some alterations. I haven’t been happy with how some of the layouts are turning out, such as this one. It’s meant to have two columns worth of items on the right side. Right now, it’s only displaying one, but some room for a second. I may need to make it so that it just wants to display one, as I feel the main text is too narrow.

Because of my continuing tinkering with the design (which has been really helped by blog comments from Claire and Lindsey, Twitter comments from program classmates Lynn and Erin, and in-person comments from my wife), I haven’t put in as much of the content as I’d like. There is more to come–but I hope where I am now gives a taste of what will be there.

I will look forward to receiving feedback from my classmates tomorrow night (or tonight, now that I’m writing past midnight). Anyone else that cares to comment, please feel free!


  1. David,

    I think your final project is off to a great start. First, I like the color scheme you used for your site. There is a certain warmth to the colors you chose, and, even though Santa Ana and Almonte’s journey was tedious and hard, you are telling your visitors that their journey through your site will not be.

    Second, I like how you used the ornament and the fonts to create a real nineteenth century feel. I further more enjoyed your use of the map in your header, giving your visitors the added feel of a journey taking place. The combination of your colors, fonts, ornaments, and images gives your page a refined look, which, I think, adds sophistication to your topic.

    Third, I like how you have broken down your page to provide valuable information on important aspects of the journey, with the ultimate goal of uncovering how Mexico and the United States viewed each other less than ten years before the Mexican-American War. The “Background” section, for instance, provides a nice opportunity for your visitors to gain context, which shall serve them well as they proceed through the rest of your site.

    I am intrigued by the story behind Santa Ana’s alleged meeting with Winfield Scott. Given that both men faced off against each other during the Mexican-American War, and Scott opening the way to Mexico City, I am amazed at this occurrence. How did this story emerge? Why are more recent biographers doubting the legitimacy of this meeting?

    One suggestion I have: Is it possible for you to increase the size of the picture on your home page? I ask because it seems, to me anyway, that the image appears much smaller when placed among your text. Other than that, I think you are doing great work!


  2. David,

    Finally got a chance to glance through the changes you’ve made and the site really looks great. I think the improvements you made to your image placement both on the main page and the “archive” pages themselves has really helped the overall look and feel of your site. It’s much more visually engaging, and seems more organized. I also loved the way you’ve styled your navigation menu “in exhibit” on the left side of the page, but I feel like something more needs to be added to either tie it together with the site or set it apart (two opposite things, I know!). Maybe the margin between the nav and your body text is too large, or you could try making the font and width of your nav a bit larger.

    In any case, you are making some really great progress. I’m really impressed!

    – Claire

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