What do buffalo hide, knives, war clubs, miniature tipis, moccasins, and cannon shot have in common?
All are part of a couple hundred items from the Buffalo Bill Center of the West’s vast artifact collections that have never had photographs online until now. Most of them from the world-famous Paul Dyck Plains Indian Buffalo Culture Collection, which makes it even more exciting.
Finding the Treasure
A combination of data entry glitches coupled with my own slovenly programming practices left these treasures orphaned from the digital world until now. To make amends, I spent some quality time with Notepad++ and mySQL to create a special virtual gallery featuring the items. It was a sobering reminder how many “moving parts” there are between our internal collection management system and the online collection. Further, it’s always nice to be reminded of all the work people have done here over the years accessioning and photographing objects.
Check out the Virtual Gallery here. Pick your favorites and curate your own Virtual Gallery!
Jump in – Deep Thoughts Welcome
Periodically, I like to remind people our Online Collection features more than 20,000 treasures, many with multiple photographs and interesting information. Sure, other fabulous online collections are much larger—some spanning multiple ORM. Either way, ours has a cool-factor to keep us on par with the best of the best. For example, our simple, open API can be used for all sorts of stuff (including our upcoming WordPress plug-in, which we will announce soon).
The current version was released a couple years ago, and we continue to improve and add to it. We encourage our Virtual Visitors to leave comments, add information, and ask questions about the objects. A recent improvement is that every object and Virtual Gallery has a comment section where anyone is welcome to participate. Though our responses aren’t always rapid, we remain diligent in answering questions and responding to interesting comments. If you want to participate in the development aspect, you can even jump in on our GitHub repo—programming experience is not required. Savvy users can browse through my GitHub page and see what we [might] be cooking up next, though some things are never released, and I have other projects from outside the Center on there too.