Let’s Work Together
A grant from the Loeb Classical Library Foundation at Harvard enabled Eternal Soldier to take steps that will help us grow. On September 18 and October 2 2021, we engaged Veterans as partners to help us design programs that interest them. We orchestrated two, professionally-facilitated, virtual "design workshops" with men and women Veterans, exploring their interests and preferences in archaeology, history, visual culture and literature. We also learned how Eternal Soldier and the Penn Museum may better serve women Veterans and Veterans of color.
During the Design Workshops, we guided Veterans on a virtual museum tour and engaged them with examples of museum resources and artifacts, followed by brainstorming sessions about topics and content of interest to Veterans, as well as unmet educational needs. Through the workshop experience, participants helped us pinpoint specific steps to improve ---and expand--- existing ES programs, as well as ways to increase our organization’s communication and engagement.
In the coming months, we will post to this space lessons learned and our plans for new programs and events.
Design Workshop, Sept 2021
Design Workshop, Oct 2021
Veterans History Exchange
Following the ideas and guidance of our Design Workshop participants, Eternal Soldier, in collaboration with a terrific team of Veterans, has created a unique interactive pathfinder experience for Veterans, the Veterans History Exchange. This program connects history and Veterans’ experience to Penn Museum artifacts, making the collection accessible to Veterans in new and exciting ways.
The Veterans History Exchange (VHX) is based on a Story Map, an interactive itinerary of objects and places coupled with geographic location and multimedia content, all pulled together to tell a story. Many cities utilize story maps to highlight cultural institutions, local businesses, historical sites and local lore for visitors. Similar to a museum tour, the VHX features the Penn Museum collection but with the focus on Veteran-curated objects united to tell Veterans’ stories.
Sometimes it is easier to understand modern conflicts through the lens of ancient wars, resulting in new ideas and observations about the perennial nature of military service, combat, Veterans and society. The VHX will illustrate modern Veteran experience in combination with a historical perspective of military service through time utilizing the Museum’s collection. The artifacts and ideas presented in the VHX need not be limited to military themes, although that would be a question for all participants.
This program partners with a team of 6 Veterans from diverse backgrounds, first to learn their stories and important themes related to military service, and second, to usher them through the creation of the VHX. We anticipate the entire program will be complete Summer 2023 with a release planned for Veterans Day 2023. The VHX will be downloadable from this website.
Participants were visited by experts from the Penn Museum curatorial staff. Veterans learned in-depth about artifacts from the Museum’s collection and created tour content. The VHX will enable Museum visitors to learn Veteran views and insights while following the pathfinder and signposts.
Thank You to all the Design Workshop participants for your support!