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Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS) Digital Story

     Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS) Digital Story

           In  searching the internet for examples of digital stories I found this from Minnesota Historical Society. Since I am a member, I was drawn to this example and examined it carefully. I was not disappointed. Several things become apparent. It was not put together by a non-technical person at MNHS as many of their articles are, but was contracted out. It was an extravagant effort that was carefully researched and cartooned. The compelling factor is the amount of historical detail that is captured under hot buttons found  throughout the story. It is a good example of a digital story. The story introduction is excellent. It combines sound, voice and visual, but then the story changes to four examples presented as cartoons with text. At this point it becomes boring. This may be a work in progress, but MNHS does not tell the viewer that. There are several changes that could increase interest. First, use voice rather than cartoon text to tell the story. The hot buttons provide a wealth of knowledge but are hardly noticeable. Highlight the hot buttons since they provide full text of the historical letter that the cartoon is based upon and other information. Read the text and move automatically through the cartoons. Next, add some historical photographs show the people quoted and to represent a trade such as milling. Include dates when describing the trade. Only four trades are offered, but there are many others in Minnesota such as mining. It is important to provide a digital format that allows the story of ordinary people to be told in a way that maintains viewer interest. This digital story falls short in this regard. We see cartoons that are connected to an original story, but the story is lost in this format.

            The compelling thing about this digital story is its hot buttons with detailed information and its potential. The hot buttons provide amplifying information and definitions which are very useful to the viewer. As seen above, a viewer can envision all sorts of improvements that would make this digital story much better. MNHS should offer this as a baseline and invite members to improve the story. I checked the MNHS web site and can find no other examples of digital stories. I’ll emailed MNHS asking why they produced the digital story in this manner and if they have any other digital stories planned.


Mike Eggleston

Mike Eggleston Bio

January 2010


 I was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota where I graduated from Cretin High School in 1956. After graduation from Cretin, I attended Saint Thomas College for one year before entering the US Military Academy at West Point, New York, where I graduated 1961. I was commissioned in the Army and retired in 1986.  Highlights of my Army service included two tours of duty in Vietnam, assignments to Europe, Pentagon, White House and other Stateside assignments. When I retired from the Army, I went to work for an engineering firm in Northern Virginia retiring from my job as a Senior Director in 2006. I have since studied at Northern Virginia Community College and I am currently enrolled in George Mason University pursuing a Master of Arts degree in U.S. History. My other degrees are Bachelor of Science from the U.S Military Academy and Master of Science from the University of Colorado. My goal is to write U.S. military history and publish a Civil War Regimental History that I am working on.

I met my wife Margaret at West Point where I was assigned to the Staff and Faculty between Vietnam tours. We were married at Newburgh, New York after I returned from Vietnam. We have four great children: Mac and Connor graduated from Virginia Tech and are doing very well in engineering firms in Northern Virginia. Connor is pursuing his PhD at Catholic University on a part time basis. Meaghan graduated from William & Mary and is a bank manager in Richmond. Patrick graduated from the Virginia Military Institute and is doing well. He is a lieutenant in the Virginia National Guard. We have been very fortunate. Margaret and I do volunteer work, travel and are usually planning our next trip. Running is a family pastime. Margaret, Connor, and I ran the Marine Corps Marathon a few years ago. Margaret said one is enough, but Connor and I still compete. – Mike Eggleston, 14011 Hunter Hill Lane, Nokesville, VA 20181. 703-754-1856,

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