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Published on March 18, 2021

The Old and the New: Pequot Artifacts and Digital History

Over the Fall 2020 semester I was able to do an independent study under the watch of Dr. Jamel Ostwald working with During the independent study I was able to continue to work on the Russell Fishkin Native American Lithic Collection of Pequot artifacts I had worked on in the previous semester during an internship at ECSU with Dr. David Naumec. The hopes for this collection is to have it housed in the Center For Connecticut Studies on the 4th floor of ECSU’s library. My interests in this Omeka project were to make an easy-to-access online database/catalog for the collection, as well as learning how to make online museum exhibits. The Omeka website, at, will be the first stop in exploring the artifacts in the Fishkin collection, allowing people to view the artifacts online before going in person.

screenshot of Fishkin collection interface

This project required several steps to convert the data collected by Dr. Naumec into the Omeka website. I had to export the Microsoft Access data into an Excel spread sheet that Omeka could work with. This part also involved cleaning the data to better format it for Omeka; this was the easiest part of the project. Next, I took roughly 600 pictures for the 301 artifacts that are displayed on the website - the full collection is over 2,000 artifacts! I uploaded the Excel data to Omeka and was able to import and format the data to fit the site, and add the pictures of each artifact. I created two exhibits with items from the collection, one being information about the collection, such as who donated it and why it is significant. The second exhibit is about the arrow points found in the collection, highlighting the different types of arrow points found. This was all easy to do, as Omeka’s exhibit building tools are modular and all fit together nicely and look clean.

fischkin interface example

This project has given me a deeper understanding into how the field of history fits nicely into the digital world. How tools such as Excel or an online database are extremely useful conducting research or scanning a document for specific words and patterns. For example, the Omeka website allows someone to search the entire collection for just the arrow points, or for all artifacts just made of quartz, something that would take hours to do in person looking through the thousands of artifacts in the collection. The skills I have taken away from this experience only further help my information gathering and research skills. As well as understanding how to uses the tools needed for online databases, now having built one of my own.

Written by Connor Caromile