HST_343 Web Report 2

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“Southwest Landscapes and People” is a section of the American Southwest
Virtual Museum that highlights prominent landscapes and ancient peoples of the
American Southwest. It can be found at:
http://swvirtualmuseum.nau.edu/gallery3/index.php/Southwest and is a collaborative
virtual museum project from several individual National Parks and Monuments, Northern
Arizona University Anthropology Laboratories, the Museum of Northern Arizona, and
the Learning Center of the American Southwest. The site features continuous
modifications meaning material will not necessarily be the same at any given point in
time. “Southwest Landscapes and People” is a section of the larger site called the
Southwest virtual museum and contains two subsections titled: “Landscapes” and
“Prehistoric People and Culture.”
Landscapes - The Landscapes section features 12 different landscape types found in the
Southwest. 9 of these are well-defined, specific geographic areas such as the Southern
Rockies, Mogollon Rim, the Great Plains, and Colorado Plateau. Three are more
generalized highlights of various features and aspects of the southwest such as “Sand and
Rocks,” “Water Sculpture,” and “Fall Reflections.” The majority have accompanying
color pictures. For example, the section for the Colorado Plateau has pictures of areas
within the plateau such as coyote gulch, death hallow, Zion narrows, and wahweap
badlands. Each landscape sub-section has an accompanying short explanation of the
region generally as well as sections explaining the geographic dimensions, precipitation,
elevation, life zone, vegetation, and geology of the area. Each section also has a link(s) to
other sub-sections within the accompanying “Prehistoric People and Culture” side of the
exhibit as well as a list of National Parks in that area. This helps to tie the ancient peoples
site of the exhibit to the area(s) they once inhabited.
Prehistoric Peoples and Culture – This section contains 17 sub sections highlighting
ancient people who have lived in various regions of the southwest. The majority of these
also have accompanying pictures of the people’s dwellings, artifacts, area of inhabitance.
Each contains a historical explanation of the group of people, of various lengths, that
usually make note of the time period they lived in, region they inhabited, what their
culture was like generally and what it is best known for now, as well as their mode of
dress, eating, travel, religious life etc. Many sections give an explanation of how they got
their name or what their name means. For example, the Mimbres people occupied
southwestern New Mexico from A.D. 800 – 1250. According to the exhibit their name is
Spanish for “willows.” Much of their architecture and pottery resembles the Mogollon
culture. They are known for producing pottery depicting humans, geometric designs, and
animals.
Overall, the exhibit shows no indications of being specifically geared toward a
certain demographic, although some of the accompanying text is fairly specific and in
depth. It does a good job of allowing viewers to be exposed to multiple regions and
peoples of the southwest at large and to be able to obtain relevant historical and
geographic information about each. The site is completely free to visit and has not sign
up process. It seems to be a good hybrid site between public and academic history. It also
offers viewers the option to link up with Facebook to alert them when updates happen.

Southwest Virtual Museum. “Southwest Landscapes and People.”
swvirtualmuseum.nau.edu.
http://swvirtualmuseum.nau.edu/gallery3/index.php/Southwest. (Accessed March
30, 2014)

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