Jamestown Historical Society

JHS Revamps Website to Enhance Accessibility and Engagement

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The Jamestown Historical Society launched a redesigned website, ushering in improved accessibility, interactivity, and community engagement. The revamped platform, developed in collaboration with multimedia firm Boone Design, LLC, promises to provide an enriched experience for history enthusiasts, volunteers, and the general public alike.

Board member Peter Fay, who led the redesign, emphasized, “The JHS needs to be ready to handle the increasing attention on Jamestown history. Both the renewed focus on the 250th anniversary of the War of Independence and the rising interest in the town’s multicultural history are bringing more inquiries and traffic to our website.”

The Society partnered with Boone Design to introduce a host of innovative features aimed at fostering community involvement and making historical resources easily accessible. The California firm has worked with other historical societies, such as the Battle of Rhode Island Association.

“I’ve been happy with their results so far,” Fay said.

The project started in September and took eight months to complete according to Boone Designs founder Mike Boone. He worked with Fay and the JHS executive board to make sure he met their functional and aesthetical needs.

“We worked really close … in determining what they wanted to put in front of people,” Boone said. “They have a lot of new updates, so we wanted to have the new homepage be dynamic with the latest and greatest.”

Fay, who worked in software development for 40 years, advised on the redesign and laid out the specs for what he was looking for. Boone worked on the backend as Fay served as a liaison to the society and provided content and feedback.

“It was an equal partnership,” Fay said.

Key highlights of the new website include:

Event Participation: Volunteers can now sign up online and engage in real-time communication regarding tours, docent activities, parties, and receptions. A new JHS calendar streamlines event planning, ensuring everyone stays informed about upcoming activities. 

Access to Collections: The JHS website now offers seamless access to its collections through the revamped interface of PastPerfect Online. With over 45,000 records, including 10,000 images, users can delve into Jamestown’s vibrant history. New search functions ensure quick and efficient retrieval of items of interest. 

Interactive Maps: A list of sites to visit with interactive maps provides insights into JHS properties and historical locations on the island. Mobile-friendly navigation makes it convenient for users to explore each site, bringing history to their fingertips. 

Online Shop and Newsletters: The website facilitates easier access to the online shop, newsletters, and exhibits, enabling enthusiasts to stay connected with the latest updates and offerings from the Jamestown Historical Society. 

Expanded Content: New articles shed light on previously untold stories of immigrants, Indigenous history, and enslavement and emancipation of African American residents gleaned from town records. 

“We are continuing to add video content and other content that was previously only accessible by going to the vault (in the basement of town hall),” Fay said. “Documents and articles about black history in Jamestown, the whaling history of African Americans and the participation in the Revolutionary War and Civil War by African Americans in Jamestown. A lot of those kinds of stories four or five years ago were totally unknown in Jamestown.”  

To volunteer, donate or to find more information, please visit the JHS new website: https://jamestownhistoricalsociety.org 

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John C. Rembijas

John C. Rembijas was born in Woonsocket, Rhode Island in 1916, his parents having immigrated from Poland.