Explore: UMW History is a digital history website dedicated to providing information to anyone who wishes to explore the history and namesakes of academic buildings on the University of Mary Washington Fredericksburg campus. The site itself is very simple, yet modern, displaying vibrant photos of academic buildings while also providing an overview of each building’s history in relation to the university.
The Explore UMW History website was one of the few sites that had nothing wrong with from a visual standpoint. Overall, the site looked and functioned great. However, there were two glaring issues: the virtual tour no longer worked and a Google Maps project had been deleted. Both of these features used outside resources to embed media unto the site, which meant tracking down those resources in the hope of repairing them, or having to delete them entirely.
Despite the sound of it, both of these problems were actually relatively easy to fix. While we were not able to fully restore the tour or the map, we decided to work around those issues to make the site operate more smoothly.
The issue with the virtual tour was unfortunately due to the passage of time. The team who originally worked on this site used Google Poly, a website intended to be used to introduce 3D modeled objects into virtual and augmented reality programs. Google Poly was shut down on June 30, 2021, taking all of its assets with it. If the digital preservation had been assigned this project about a year earlier, we might have been able to salvage the original tour. However, all Poly projects have been deleted since the shut down, meaning we could do nothing with the original tour other than remove the dead linked and embed code.The only good news is that the creators of this site did provide a transcript of the entire tour, which we have made readily available for viewers from the original page.
Instead of leaving the Virtual Tour page blank, we opted to link the official UMW Campus Tour in its place while providing an option to simply look at the original tour transcript. Once the tour link was removed, it was discovered the formatting of the sites bottom ribbon was disrupted. To fix this, we included an aerial photograph of the UMW Bell Tower, which is the same image featured on the site’s home page. This image is also used in the official campus tour, because the UMW Bell Tower is such a recognizable feature on the Mary Washington Fredericksburg campus.
After updating the information about the virtual tour, the digital preservation team moved on to the Google Maps project. From what we were able to discern, the map was meant to provide markers for all the buildings mentioned on the site. Unfortunately, the Google Map had been deleted and there was no transcript provided. Instead of deleting the project entirely, one of our team members recreated the Google Map using the information and images already present on the Explore UMW website. The new map contains markers for all the historic buildings on the UMW campus, while providing the same overview of information found on each building’s individual page.
Here are some before and after shots of the site. To view the full-size screenshot, click on the image of your choosing and it will open in a new window. From there you can view the screenshot like you would a normal webpage.
If you would like to explore the Explore UMW History site for yourself, please click here or navigate to the site’s landing page from the dropdown menus at the top of this page.