Project reflection & semester review

This semester has been a very tech-oriented one for me and I was happy to be able to put those skills into practice along with my team for our project. The mission statement definition of our project in a broad sense, was to digitize the Civil War letters of Montgomery Slaughter and George Murray. In our contract we outlined several milestones and assigned each other roles to help keep us organized. In the end although we missed a few milestones, I feel that we created a fully rounded space to house these documents. The only area in which I feel we are presently lacking is in advertising. Our group worked steadily from the finalization of our contract, to fixing edits until our symposium presentation to create a worthy website, but I think all this energy may have exhausted us and taken away some time to advertise before the event. Looking back at our contract I think most of my team would agree that we were a little ambitious with our goals, but I think that worked in our favor because even though we sometimes found ourselves in a time-crunch to make up for passed deadlines, in the end the website turned out to be more than just an online archive but also a digital museum in my opinion.

In the group planning stages we envisioned this website as a good primary resource for those interested in Fredericksburg Civil war history, and I think we accomplished that goal very well. I have to mention that I was/ am very proud of the teamwork within my group. I’m not sure if it was due to the survey we initially completed before the start of the semester (I think that was a great idea!) but we ended up having a good balance of skills, Breck and Kathleen as History majors, were already familiar working with primary documents and citations, which really benefited us the entire semester. In addition, Matthew and I brought varying levels of technical skill and experience working with coding and website design which we consistently used as well throughout the semester.

I think the most challenging part for my team was the actual digitization of the letters themselves because it was the most time consuming. I was responsible primarily for the scanning of the Murray letters, and his biographical page on our site. Kathleen and I spent the first weeks of the semester scanning letters, and then the whole team was responsible for uploading and including the correct metadata for a selection of letters. My own contributions leaned more to the technical and creative side of the project. Within the website I worked on configuring our theme on Omeka and the individual page designs for our website. I also created some original art for our homepage including a banner and the decorative image of Murray and Slaughter. One of the biggest challenges I had was figuring out exactly what kind of beast Omeka was. I’m not used to working with websites that are more restrictive, but the experience helped my test myself in working around a problem to find unconventional solutions. One example of this is the image galleries I created to display separate images in both the Slaughter and Murray bios; I would have liked something a little fancier, but it serves its purpose.  In the final weeks I also collaborated with Kathleen to make an introductory video for our website. It was an experience, that I won’t forget soon, after 11 hours in the video editing lab I think both of us walked away with new skills. Ultimately though I feel it’s a nice and necessary addition because it summarizes everything that our website represents in a concise way.

In closing, I’m very pleased with the final product and the experiences I’ve had in this class. I hope our website and the depth of information it holds become a good resource and add to the historical Civil War community in Fredericksburg.

Final Reflection and Contract Defense

Well, this is the end for me. Not only in this class but also at Mary Washington. It has been an interesting four years here and something I wouldn’t trade for the world. By and large, this class has been one of the most beneficial learning experiences at this school. Not only did I apply my skill of critically analyzing historical documents, but I also learned the importance of actively participating in the documents themselves. Reading through the diaries and analyzing them is one thing. But doing both of those things knowing that I am constructing a site for others to use is an almost sublime experience. Knowing that I contributed something useful that can be applied in other people’s research is rewarding.

I was also able to apply the skill of time management to this process. This is something that not only made my tenure at Mary Washington helpful, but also one that I can take with me out into the “real” world and claim confidently that I have worked diligently to first acquire and second hone. Between the hours spent scanning, uploading, and transcribing, all while knowing that there was a deadline as well as other people depending on me to do my role, time management became essential to the success of this project. I think my group, more than any other group, relied the most on time management. The sheer volume of material that we had to scan, upload, transcribe, and edit all while working out the many kinks with Omeka, reflects this challenge of managing our time effectively.

Although incredibly massive amount of things we had to do helped us hone our time management skills, I think it also hurt us. Towards the beginning of the semester when we were working on our contracts, I think my group kind of under estimated the challenge we were tasked with and as a result, the dates we put down did not always match with the dates we actually had the task finished by. Between other classes, graduation, job applications, and everything else in college, it was difficult for me, and I think my group as well, to finish by the dates we set forth. However, this was not due to us being lazy or procrastinating. I think we accomplished the goals we set out on the contract. We wanted to digitize a collection of diaries, with transcriptions, and include a page turning plugin with the goal of other historians or casual visitors to use and explore. And I think my group accomplished these goals. To be fair, we did have some hiccups along the way which did lead to some frustrations. But I know we all took those hiccups in stride and did not dwell on the frustrations but instead used them as learning experiences moving forward. The problems we faced with Omeka were handled wonderfully by Callie as she did not hesitate to ask for guidance. The same could be said about Mike when he was tasked with finding information about Steven Gordon. He maintained an effective line of communication with Luisa who supplied him with the necessary information. James kept his cool throughout the entire process. He was kind of the jack-of-all-trades of the group. He did the scanning, some research, made the timeline, and helped to outline our final presentation. He was essential to the success of the group. As for myself, I would like to think that I was helpful to the group. I worked on the transcription and finished it in time; put all the files on my hard drive and sent them off to Louisa; and stayed up really late the night before it was due making sure that everything was uploaded and formatted correctly (my hands still ache from all the alt-tabbing).

All in all, this semester and this project has been both a learning experience as well as an opportunity for me to apply my historical skills in a new way. It was more than just researching and then writing a final paper. It was an active participation with the historical process, creating a product that can be used by others. It was definitely one of the most rewarding classes I’ve taken at this school.

Reflective Essay

The Hurley Convergence Center project has been a wonderful experience. In my reckoning it has kept well within the parameter of our mission statement, even if it has not always lived up to the due dates. I believe I have contributed quite a bit to making this project a reality and steering it into its dual role as a resource and archive.

The original idea for the website layout worked out better than imagined. We were ultimately disappointed of the ability to swipe or click left and right to move between pages, but the menu is just as useful, if not better for including all pages. The idea of Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary pages was exercised for nearly every topic. A landing page was created to explain the purpose of the category and its contents, in addition to the home page these served as primary pages. The secondary pages held most of the information, and each one had some form of visual aid. Tertiary pages were not used for every secondary page, only the ones it made sense to include them in. A common tertiary page would be for a video transcript, and it can be argued that the Archives page served a dual secondary/tertiary role.

For the archive, it was originally imagined that there would be video and audio interviews coupled with a timeline and a catalog of archived documents. Needless to say, there were some serious technical issues associated with this side of the project. To start with, the final website includes no audio-only interviews. It was originally imagined that some individuals would be too busy to make the walk to the production studio, and that we could accommodate them by coming to their offices with recording equipment. In the end the recording equipment was found to be deficient and nobody we interviewed was unwilling to join us in the studio. In the end we exceeded our goal of six or seven interviewees by obtaining a grand total of eight.

After meeting with John Morello and obtaining his personal archive of the HCC, it became abundantly clear that two or three people could not classify every document in that file in the time allotted for the semester, let alone with the other needs of the project. With the addition of Jerry Slezak’s files and the transfer from Hanbury Evans, that goal became much loftier. As a compromise I came up with the hazy idea of putting together certain documents to form a narrative ‘spotlight’ on some aspect of the HCC’s conception/construction (In the middle of a group presentation no less). I consider these my greatest contribution to the site, and by far my favorite.

The final technical issue is one we are at a loss to solve, and likely doesn’t need solving. On some older versions of Internet Explorer the timeline does not display correctly. After the disappointment faced in our presentation I accessed the timeline from several different locations using all three common browsers. I found that the last three versions of Firefox and Chrome were entirely compatible with the timeline, but only the last two of Internet Explorer, and only if the older one was fully up to date with common software. I cannot begin to explain why, but I do take comfort in the knowledge that Internet Explorer is the least used of all three browsers.

In closing I would like to touch on our milestones. As laid out, most of the first few weeks dealt with exploring technology and educating ourselves on the HCC and its equipment. Our interviews were completed on time, our pages were written on time (although not necessarily in their final form), the editing was very nearly complete and the website was finalized on time. The only not wholly done on time was the Timeline, which was held back by a lack of detailed information. It wasn’t until the files of Jerry Slezak laid out the original exploration committee’s several design phases that the entire picture became clear. It occurs to me that I have talked very little about my own role in the process. I was primarily responsible with the archive and, in fact, did the majority of work on it. Otherwise I was present at half the interviews, despite working full time; I developed a standardized look to the resource pages, and I wrote most of them; and I was primarily responsible for making the timeline.

Thank you for the opportunity,

Andrew Steele

Defense of Contract and Final Reflections

The essential goal of our project, as stated in the Murray/Slaughter contract, was to digitize the letters of Montgomery Slaughter and George Murray, and we have been able to do so. We have completed our website, an Omeka-based digital archive that creatively displays our collections of letters from Murray and Slaughter.

In terms of the details of the contract, in broad strokes, we have done very well. Essentially everything was completed in terms of the website itself. We have not, however, done the intended publicity work, due to the constraints of time though I am willing to send some emails to that effect over the next few days. In terms of deadlines, we missed a few, though only the deadlines for having the letters uploaded and the StoryMap completed were missed by a significant margin. That delay was due primarily to technical difficulties and the fact that the group, due to the complications with Omeka’s item ordering and the relevant plug-in for that, believed we would have to upload the letters in a staggered fashion. The delays in getting Murray’s letters done meant that although I had Slaughter’s transcribed letters ready, we had decided I couldn’t upload them, as we wanted to complete the Murray collection in the complete order first. That ended up taking longer than anticipated. Despite that, once given the go-ahead, the Slaughter letters were up inside of two days. The StoryMap, which required looking at all of the letters, was also delayed as we focused on resolving the technical issues plaguing the letter uploads.

In terms of the parts of the project I was responsible for, my main regret is not fixing the transcriptions of the letters to the best of my ability before they went up on the site, as substantial parts were left blank on the transcriptions I was working with. However, I had a couple of difficulties that partially account for this, the main one of which is that I was working with handwritten transcriptions, which took far of my time in the special collections room than I expected, so I was unable to spend any time also working with the originals, which Kathleen had scanned. Until all items relating to the same letters were up on the website, which did not happen until weeks later than expected, I did not have any terribly convenient way to display both the original transcription and a separate description, so that ended up dropped from the agenda as I worked on other aspects of the project. Relating to this, another area in which the contract also ended up being slightly outdated over time was the tasks assigned to each member, as we ended up helping each other on tasks on originally assigned to one member; in my case, I assisted substantially with the StoryMap and helped with some of the initial planning and clip selection for the video.

Despite the challenges, I am overall pleased with the website. It was completed on time, the entire group was satisfied with how it looks, and it certainly achieves the basic task of digitizing the Murray-Slaughter letters. Overall, I am proud of the work we did for the website, and feel we fulfilled the spirit of our contract.

 

 

 

Semester Review

“Our mission, at the behest of the National Park Service, is to digitize a collection of letters from Montgomery Slaughter, the wartime mayor of Fredericksburg, and from George Murray, a Union soldier from Pennsylvania.”  This was the first sentence of our Mission Statement when we first received the project.  It has been about four months since then and as I have said in many updates since then, we have come a long way.  We have completed a digital archive in the form of a website that displays all of the letters written by George Murray and Montgomery Slaughter.  Looking over our statement however, we have not contacted any local organizations as we first intended.  This is because after spending so much time making the actual site, we have forgotten to spread the word about it.  In terms of tools, we have successfully used Omeka to make our site making use of its collections and items aspects.  The only tool we did not use to make our project is iMovie as we switched to Final Cut Pro to edit our video together and we never changed our contract to reflect this.  We have completed all of the jobs outlined in our contract though we had to change one job (recording for every single letter) simply because there was not enough time to record for all of them.  We all did a fair share in terms of labor though I personally feel I could have done more to help edit the video or set up the site.  We all did our individual tasks though, uploading all of the letters and metadata and setting up the site to begin with.  The schedule of milestones helped a lot as we constantly knew what we had to do and what the next step was after that.

Creating the site was not a difficult process though Omeka took a bit of getting used to.  Once we had the proper plugins, we were able to upload all of our letters and then rearrange them in the proper order.  I was concerned about this for a while because our letters were organized by date and needed to be kept in this order and Omeka initially only allowed us to organize our items alphabetically or by date uploaded.  Nothing in this project was particularly difficult; everything was more meticulous than anything.  We had most of the letters and transcriptions to begin with so putting them on the site was not hard, recording audio was done in three sittings and was fairly straight forward once everyone knew the process for recording, and editing and exporting all of the audio was incredibly simple. My only regret was not preparing more for the presentation as I was too nervous and we opened a Google Slide presentation in Powerpoint and the layout was completely messed up when we presented our final project.  Other than that, I would like to think we did a good job making the site with all of the letters.  We still need to go back and fix a couple of things here and there (mainly adding citations) but other than that, I hope users have a good experience checking out our site.

Reflection on the James Monroe Museum Project

While our group experienced some setbacks and had to change our contract, we achieved our objectives in the website we ultimately produced. Our original goal had been to create an Omeka website that contained 3D laser scans of a minimum of five objects at the James Monroe Museum, video interviews with the curator or director about each object, photographs of the objects, and a paragraph description about the history of each object. Overall, we met our goal by successfully creating a 3D laser scan, video interview, photographs, and object information for six objects.

However, we had to change our contract because we found that a WordPress website worked better for our project than an Omeka website. We had originally wanted to use an Omeka website because it uses a Dublin Core metadata system to organize and present information on the webpage about archival material or objects, such as the item’s maker, date, and description. Omeka websites also allow for the object webpages to be organized into online exhibits and collections, so we thought it would be perfect for our project. We realized that we needed to change to a WordPress website when we found out that the Dublin Core metadata system did not closely match the curatorial information system used by the museum and that there was no Omeka plugin to embed 3D laser scans.

Overall, the WordPress website worked much better than the Omeka website because we could embed both the 3D laser scans and the video interviews into each object’s page. Although WordPress did not have a plugin for a museum curatorial system that worked with the one used by the James Monroe Museum, I developed a standardized format for presenting select information from the object files on our website. While the WordPress website ultimately worked better because it allowed us to have the greatest control over the information we presented, I think an Omeka website would have had a better user interface because of the way Omeka websites can create galleries. We created a “Collections” page on our WordPress website, but it was clunky and confusing because the photographs of each objects are not a standard size. We ultimately chose to locate one object photograph per line to create greater clarity, but now users have to scroll more.

The other major issue our group encountered was having to go through a trial-and-error process to figure out which laser scanner we could use. We originally thought we had four options: a portable turntable scanner, an Xbox Kinect scanner, a stationary scanner on campus, and a Structure Sensor scanner for iPads. Ultimately, only the Structure Sensor scanner worked because the portable turntable scanner and the stationary scanner did not include the color of the objects, making them look like lumpy blobs. The stationary scanner was also too difficult to schedule to use and it was too small to handle most of our objects. The Xbox Kinect scanner would have probably worked well for some of the larger objects, but Jonathan was unable to get the software to work on his laptop. The Structure Sensor scanner was not the most ideal because it could not knit two or more scans together like some of the other scanners, resulting in holes in some of the objects where they touched the floor or in their deep crevices. In many ways, the quality of the scans was to be expected given that it was a relatively inexpensive scanner.

The trial-and-error process to learn about the laser scanners resulted in our group falling nearly three weeks behind our schedule, so we decided not to follow the schedule or divisions of labor in our group contract because we could not have gotten the project done in time. Instead of scanning, video recording, and photographing one object per week and having one person be responsible for that object, Jonathan scanned all of the objects and Lila and I did the video recording and photography over the course of several weeks. We did not have to do additional research on the objects or write up information on them because the museum let us use the information from the object files. Jonathan was originally supposed to lead in the video editing, but we did not realize that the 3D scans would also require editing, so Jonathan showed Lila and I how to do the video editing and close captions while he edited the scans and upload them to our SketchFab account. All three of us were still present for the laser scanning and video recordings. We also worked together to create the website. The only other aspect of the contract that we did not complete was linking our website to the James Monroe Museum’s website and using their connections to publicize our project. We did not complete these steps because the museum was too busy to review and approve our project before our deadline. However, the director is interested in linking the websites and taking control of our project at the end of the semester.

In conclusion, we were ultimately successful in creating an online space where people can learn about and interact with objects that were important to James Monroe. Even though our 3D laser scans and video interviews have only been publicly accessible for about a week, people are already viewing them.

Defense of Contract

When my group first wrote our contract at the beginning of the semester, I viewed it as something to be strictly followed, but now that we have completed everything on the document, I see it as a general guide that kept us on track.  To me, our contract seems to be a plan that was written with the best-case scenario for the creation of the website in mind, when we were unaware of the multitude of problems to come.  Of the two major areas on our contract, division of labor and milestones, we seemed to stick to our project as contracted with greater fidelity in regards to the former.

We divided work to be done by each individual member as well as the group as a whole.  As far as individual assignments, we stuck to this part exactly.  We were all individually responsible for things such as scanning the letters, creating PDF versions of the letter transcriptions, uploading the letters to the website, writing biographies of Slaughter and Murray, creating audio recordings of some of the letters, and citing sources.  On the other hand, every group member was supposed to research Slaughter and Murray, work on the introductory video, and create the StoryMapJS for George Murray’s page.  However, some of these tasks, although they were originally intended to be whole groups assignments, ended up being completed by two people each instead of all four.  For example, Kim and Breck, who were responsible for writing the biographies of Murray and Slaughter respectively, did all the research on these two men.  Also, Breck and I put the StoryMap together.  Even though the entire group was supposed to help with these two things, it seemed to be better that this was not the case.  With the research, there were so few sources of information that we all would have ended up with the same thing, so Kim and Breck easily managed it.  With the StoryMap, each location leads into the next, so it was easier to have one person (me) look at all the letters and figure out Murray’s movements from one place to another so it flowed well, and another (Breck) go through and contextualize the battles Murray fought in.

The part of our contract that we did not follow very closely was the milestones section.  We had ten milestones total and were able to meet five of them on time, completed three of them a few days behind schedule, and were two to three weeks late with the remaining two.  Looking back, many of the dates we set for ourselves seem unrealistic because we were unfamiliar with our website’s platform, Omeka, and various other software we used, such as Audacity and Final Cut Pro.  We were able to make five deadlines on time, which included scanning the letters, creating PDFs of the transcriptions, taking photos of Slaughter’s grave and Murray’s uniform, reading the letters to check the transcriptions for typos, creating exhibits for the letters, and turning in the site to Dr. McClurken.  However, due to our unfamiliarity with Omeka, some confusion with our “Item Order” plugin, and the upload time for each individual tiff file (10-15 minutes), it took us a few weeks past our deadline to get all the letters uploaded.  We had originally thought the Murray letters needed to be uploaded first, but once we figured out they did not, we were already very behind by the time Slaughter’s were published.  Because digitizing the letters and putting them on the site was the bare minimum, we wanted to get this done first, which set us back as far as completing other tasks, such as the StoryMap and introductory video.  The StoryMap was also completed a few weeks late because it involved looking at all sixty-four letters, but the video, although it took more time than we thought, was up about six days after the original milestone.  The audio recordings were also completed about six days after the original date because we had some communication problems about which letters to record.  Lastly, the bibliography had grown so much after we completed the video that we were about four days late in finishing it.  Overall, the problem with missing our milestones was that once we missed one due to technical problems, it became difficult to make up the lost time while also continuing with the other tasks, as we had other classes to complete work for, so it snowballed.  But, we were able to successfully complete everything with plenty of time and I am very pleased with the way the site turned out!

Reflection on James Monore 3D Project

After months of planning and attending meetings, recording videos, taking pictures,capturing 3D images, editing digital footage and creating a website through WordPress, my group successfully produced a website featuring 3D scans, videos, object-file information and still images of six objects at the James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library.

Our journey to complete the website included some successes and some challenges.

We were successful at finding a plugin to embed the 3D file on our WordPress website and every week we were able to rent a videocamera,tripod, iPad scanner and camera from the school to complete our project. We also did a good job of communicating as a group using group text messages and meeting  at the James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library and in the computer labs at the HCC to complete our project outside the classroom.

Unfortunately, throughout the course of our project we also had some challenges. It took us a few weeks to capture the first 3D scan because we had to learn how to use the scanner and the first scanner we tried to use did not meet our expectations and the second scanner we attempted to use did not work. Luckily, the third scanner we attempted to use, the iPad scanner, worked to our satisfaction and was a successful capture of a 3D rendering of a museum object. Also, we were not able to host our website on Omeka as we had initially planned, so we generated our website using WordPress.

In addition to the successes and challenges we encountered during the semester we also had to accommodate for some changes. While we had proposed in our group contract that our website would become part of the James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library Website, we did not received permission from the museum, therefore, our website will not be directly linked to the main website. Although we did provided multiple links on our website to the museum’s website for easy access to internet users to encourage them to visit the museum. Additionally, we did not arrange to link our website to social media platforms or to historical organizations as we had planned in our group contract. Throughout the course of the semester many changes were made with regards to the division of labor. While our contract said, “one person is in charge of 3D uploads and working on the object files”, these two tasks were completed by Jon and Mary respectively. Also, in addition to recording the videos, Mary and I also edited and wrote close captioning for all but one of the videos, we took photographs of the objects, and we communicated  with Dr. Meadows, Mr. Kearney and Mr. Harris by email throughout the semester. All group members assisted in the editing process and the web design.

In conclusion, I believe that while we had successes, challenges, and changes to our group contract about the website we were ultimately successful in creating a interactive website of 3D scans, videos, and still pictures of six objects from the James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library.  We created a website accessible to and for students, teachers, researchers to enjoy. I think that this website will encourage people to visit the  James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library  view the six objects we included in our website in person.

Hurley Convergence Center Project Reflection

It has been a long fourteen weeks constructing the Hurley Convergence Center project. We had our fair share of road blocks along the way, but that didn’t stop us as group from creating a website greater than we originally imagined. We ended up using just about every tool listed in our proposal except for Audacity and SoundCloud, but there is a reason for that. We decided to get some training in the Advanced Media Production Studio and eventually recorded all of the interviews with the HD cameras and high quality microphones provided. This helped our website appear more professional while also showing off one of the many resources available in the HCC at the cost of taking a bit longer with editing the footage.

We were able to meet most of the weekly milestones relatively early. The WordPress theme that we all agreed to use made mobile integration rather easy, so the rest of that week was focused on the timeline and the documents given to us by our interviewee, John Morello. We had a bit of trouble meeting Week 3/11’s milestone because of interviewees cancelling or rescheduling, but as you may have seen from our various blog posts and presentations, we ended up getting them all finished earlier than we expected anyway. We even completed an extra interview and recorded plenty of short walk-through videos for the resources of the HCC while we had the time.

We couldn’t have done this without working together and dividing up the work evenly among ourselves. Marissa did a wonderful job at contacting and scheduling meetings for the people we needed to interview or ask for some feedback on the current build of our website. Andrew did an amazing job putting together the pages of the website and a rather informative timeline. Jon did a great job creating the transcripts and always making sure the equipment worked in the Advanced Media Production Studio. My main jobs were editing the videos, being at every interview to make sure everything recorded well, and working with Andrew on the website. I have faith in my editing skills, so I believe the videos turned out really well.

I stand by the Hurley Convergence website that we created together. We were assigned to create a website documenting the history of the building, but we proposed an idea for a website that went even further than that, thanks to Kyle Allwine from Admissions. A website that not only told the story of how the building came to be, but one that appealed to students, faculty, staff, and possible university applicants by displaying the various resources available in the building that can be used by anyone. If the website by chance doesn’t have what you are looking or you just want even more information and possibly want to schedule a time with the tutors, we linked to the Convergence Center website that has everything else that you could possibly need. Even if you want to look at all of the files that we studied for yourself,  you can download them by following the links to the MEGA online storage on our website and learn everything about the building and its history.

When I first came into this class in January, I never thought the website that I was assigned to create with my group would turned out as great and mind blowing as it did. I have the resources in the HCC to thank for giving me the possibility to achieve what we did. I want to close off saying that I do hope that Admissions changes their minds about our website and decide to use it as an advertisement tool for the university in the future. If not, that is fine. I am sure plenty of faculty and staff associated with the HCC will recommend our site to students and it makes me happy knowing that students will be using it.

Week #14

During the final week of the semester my group members and I edited the website in accordance with Dr. McClurken’s suggestions. Additionally, we sent elite invitations for the April 22nd presentation to staff members at the James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library including Mr. Harris and Mr. Kearney and Dr. Meadows. Also, my group members and I prepared a Google Slides presentation for the April 22nd History and American Studies Symposium and assigned specific pages to each group member. Finally, I bought thank you notes and a gift for the staff at the James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library and Dr. Meadows who have helped us complete our website project to express our appreciation and our gratitude.