The Value in A Digital Mission Revival Project

My project concerns the built environment of Southern California. While built environments can be examined and analysed through a traditional history paper, my project will use digital tools to allow users to engage with Mission Revival locations in a sort of virtual tour. Given the scope of my project, a walking tour of Mission Revival sites in Southern California would not be possible because of how many building I intend to include and the large spread of locations. Moreover, the project is not intended to re-create “Mission Revival’s Greatest Hits” by featuring the most well-known and celebrated examples of this architectural style. Rather, this project will show the prominence of the style in “everyday” structures throughout Southern California – buildings that blend into the built environment because of how pervasive the Mission Revival style is.

I believe my map will allow for both a “virtual tour” of Southern California’s built environment for outsiders or visitors and also will help residents to be more cognizant of the prominence of Mission Revival architecture.

My timeline will display the spread of popularity of this architectural style. While this could be summarized in a few sentences (ex: “The Mission Revival style dates to the turn of the twentieth century. It was most popular in ….”) seeing examples “being built” throughout time via the timeline is more memorable and engaging.

Lastly, the Omeka archive I will build has the benefit of being an easily accessible and searchable collection of Mission Revival buildings. Currently, I have not found a comparable collection online (or even a solid list of Mission Revival sites). There are published books on Mission Revival Architecture that have photographs of building examples. These books are limited in their availability and in space they can afford to print photos. Additionally, books are stuck in the time they were published – the Omeka archive can be expanded with more photos as sites are photographed and built.

My proposed thesis for this project is “The Mission Revival style has left an indelible mark on Southern California’s built environment, it has been used on a variety of buildings and both reflects and produces California history and culture.” In order to prove this argument, I must highlight and display the prevalence of Mission Revival buildings in Southern California; the digital tools of a map, timeline, and Omeka archive are effective ways to do this.

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