The first website that I investigated was “The Great Awakening”, a website completely dedicated to the First Great Awakening, the religious movements, and the history. It is a vibrant website with bright backgrounds and a lot of information organized into easy to navigate categories of: Concepts in a Nutshell, Origins of Revivalism, Key Figures, Roots of Revolution, and Awakening Resources.
The website’s links lead to more information about each subject and its effect of early-American history. The website also goes into how the Great Awakening was a strong motivation for the American Revolution and that in some parts of England the revolution was referred to as the “Presbyterian Rebellion”. The website has a strong leaning towards informing readers about how important this part of religious and American history was to the beginning of the United States. The website also offers a Discussion Board forum where the person visiting the site can post questions or simply discuss history.
This website was designed for students who are studying the First Great Awakening and its impact on American history. The forum let’s students ask questions pertaining to this period in history and the website gives a bibliography of useful books and other resources on the subject for interested students or anyone who might need to research the topic. The validity of the material is perfect for a website of this type, and I really thought that all of the information was pertinent and relayed in a very historical way. There was a ton of information here that one could easily get lost in but the designer was able to keep it all together and make it easy to navigate and easy to appreciate.
The next website is called “13 Originals” and deals primarily with the first 13 colonies that comprised the New World prior to the American Revolution. This website has a wealth of information about the colonies and has many documents relating to them as well as tons of links to other websites that deal with the colonies and colonial life and culture. Maps are also provided that show what the 13 colonies looked like and what land was included in each one. The website has a lot of information packed into pages of information to read about this subject, with very few links to help someone navigate around it easily or to break up the monotony of white screen with blue text. There are many words that are links to more information, however, and a lot of history included in the text.
The website was designed with a student or a class in mind, most like middle school-aged students who are seeking information on this subject. The material is extremely valid to the subject but some of the links veer off into other areas of history that aren’t so specific and therefore it can get a little confusing. The design of the website is simple and to the point, but sometimes boring and not able to keep the attention of the person viewing it. The map collections are interesting, all of them courtesy of a rare map collection found at a library, and another link leads to Yale Law School’s Avalon Project, which compiles a multitude of documents and charters about the early United States.
For me, I would have rather had more pictures and more buttons and links to break up the long single page of text. The web designer was trying to pack a lot of information into one spot but did not succeed in creating a very good place that could be easily researched.
The third website I investigated was “Colonial Williamsburg: Life during the 18th-Century”, which is a website about the living history reenactments that occur at Colonial Williamsburg. Because the people that interpret history there live the colonial life through their profession, there is a great deal of information available about the culture, manners, food, family life, and religion of that specific time and place as it relates to pre-Revolution America. There is also a section dedicated to the African American experience in colonial America, as well as biography sheets, important historical documents, and interviews with the re-enactors who dedicate their lives to bringing history to life for everyone to see. There are pictures of these re-enactors in period clothing and period situations, with an easy navigable site that details everything about this time and place.
The website designer had two things in mind when creating this website: the first is to inform the public about Colonial Williamsburg as a destination, and the second being to inform them about colonial life and culture. There are really great pictures of the various re-enactments and a section dedicated to children’s history games and fun, but most of all there is a wealth of information and links about the way life was and how the people would have lived during this period, all of the material being extremely valid to the author’s intentions.
This website does its job of selling the destination of Colonial Williamsburg to the public and also has a lot of fun and interesting information that can be accessed now without having to go there. There are even virtual field trips that one can go on and the entire site talks about every aspect of Colonial life and all different races and cultures.
“13 Originals.” The TimePage. 22 Feb. 2007 <http://www.timepage.org/spl/13colony.html>.
“Experience the Life.” Colonial Williamsburg. The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. 24 Feb. 2007 <http://www.history.org/Almanack/life/Af_Amer/aalife.cfm>.
“The Great Awakening.” The Great-Awakening.Com. 26 Feb. 2007 <http://www.great-awakening.com/>.