The Final Stands Interpretive Center seeks to interpret the Battle of Brice’s Crossroads fought June 10, 1864, and the Battle of Harrisburg/Old Town Creek fought July 13-15, 1864. When management decided to expand their exhibit to include an interactive kiosk with a soldier lookup, they turned to Chase Computer Services to provide a solution.
The Final Stands Interpretive Center is located just off of Highway 45 in Baldwyn, Mississippi. Visitors can enjoy a complete look at the Civil War which includes a civil war timeline, a memorial and remembrance wall, an exhibit outlining “Mississippi in the Civil War”, army definitions, and the complete story of Brice’s Crossroads and Harrisburg-Old Town Creek battles. The exhibit is housed in 4000 sq. ft. interpretive center complete with restrooms, bookstore, flag exhibit, video and exhibit area, and a conference room.
The staff at The Center are constantly researching these two battles. Through the years a lot of data has been collected. The quickest way to track this data was to open a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet and start recording. Data has been collected on Union and Confederate soldiers who fought in these two battles. The data is continually being updated as research brings to light new found facts.
The use of Microsoft Excel as a database proved to be useful for a couple reasons:
- The spreadsheet was portable as the researcher could take a laptop to the library and key directly into the spreadsheet as facts were discovered.
- The spreadsheet allowed for easy updates.
Storing the data in Microsoft Excel also proved to have its challenges:
- Sharing of data between staff meant copies of data had to be sent back and forth.
- Updates from multiple users meant someone had to merge the data.
- Data stored in the spreadsheet was good for storing but did not have a good way to display to exhibit visitors.
- Spreadsheets allow free form data entry which typically leads to data inconsistency.
We wanted to provide a solution that allowed them to continue to experience the benefits of the Excel file but reduce the challenges of the spreadsheet. To do this, CCS developed a database that could import the information from the Excel spreadsheets. Once the information was imported, the user can manipulate the data as needed. One of the benefits to the new database is once the initial spreadsheets were imported, they no longer needed to maintain them. They can add new information directly into the database resulting in data being consistently shared between staff.
Alongside building the database, we knew we had to provide a solution on how the data should be presented. The best plan for The Center was to have an interactive kiosk to display all the information. The kiosk's interactivity allows the user to search for a specific soldier revealing his information such as birthday, enlistment date, photos, letters written home, in-depth service records, and more.
Having the kiosk allows The Center to have some interactivity while most of the other exhibits are static. It provides a medium to share the information on about 18,000 soldiers that are stored in the database. It encourages travelers to visit and learn the stories of relatives and their infantries.
The database brings a sense of unity between the staff. It allows them to work alongside each other without causing data to be logged twice. It allows them to add more information as it is learned. It brings ease into a situation that before was chaotic.
All in all, the database and kiosk were the perfect addition to The Final Stands Interpretative Center.
Mississippi Final Stands Interpretive Center
Final Stands Website
Non-profit, Museum / Exhibit Space
- Maintenance of content
- Presentation of content
- Centrally stored database
- Ability for multiple users to update content
- Interactive presentation to the public
IN THE PRESS
We love it. It is more than we imagined it could be. I thought we were getting a bicycle and you gave us a Cadillac.- Mallie Fitzgerald
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