Wikipedia

Sharing the Didelphodon with Wikipedia

PrenoceratopsBeing a Wikipedian in Residence means that I get to share the museum's collection with the world by working with the Wikipedia community to place our images and resources in articles.

I recently had the opportunity to share images and videos of unique artifacts from our Natural Science collection, and it took quite a few steps to get them there! Have you ever wondered how the Children's Museum's collections actually get into Wikipedia?

Here's how it all went down:

Step 1:

Members of WikiProject Dinosaur made a request for images of our Prenoceratops (named Frannie) and our model of the Didelphodon, which is important for its jaw bone, or mandible. These Wikipedia editors knew that the Didelphodon and Prenoceratops articles would benefit from new images, noticed that we had these specimens in our collection, and got in contact with me.

Step 2:

Casts

After discussing this request with our Natural Science curators, it was decided that we could do one better. Rather than take images of the artifacts in poor lighting within the display, we would share more useful images (and video!) with Wikipedia.

Step 3:

We already had images of the cast of Frannie the Prenoceratops. These images were quickly shared with me and uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, Wikipedia's image repository.

Step 4:

On top of this, it was decided that we would create videos panning some of our Dinosphere displays. These videos would illustrate a more accurate representation of the fossils and casts. We worked with some videographers to film the displays, and later I uploaded the videos to Commons.

Step 5:

Mandible cast

The final step was to create a new cast of the Didelphodon mandible in order to have new photographs of this important fossil. This artifact is significant because it is the first discovered Didelphodon mandible still containing teeth.

I had the opportunity to watch and learn as Natural Science curator William Ripley created the mandible cast.  We even made some new T-Rex teeth with the spare liquid plastic that had been made for the cast! We waited to take photographs until the cast had set and William had a chance to paint the mandible to make it look more realistic. The image is now uploaded to Commons alongside the rest of our Natural Science Collection donations.

Where are they (in Wikipedia) now?

  • The Prenoceratops article now includes our Prenoceratops cast as its main image. Frannie is famous!
  • Specimens of Tyrannosaurus now includes videos panning the Bucky the T-Rex display.
  • The Didelphodon article (in English and Spanish!) now includes our image of the mandible cast, illustrating the first Didelphodon mandible fossil discovered that still contains teeth.

It's always incredible to see how far the museum's collection has spread throughout Wikipedia. So far our 265 images have been used in 70 languages and have been viewed nearly 5 million times. Who knows where these new images and videos will end up next!

Curious about creating casts?

If you want to learn more about how to create a cast of a fossil, catch up on this blast-from-the-past This Week's WOW, where our paleontologists show us how to make a cast of a T-Rex toe claw!

Wikipedia Image of the Week #8

 

Did you know that we have over 120,000 objects in our collection, but only 10% are on display at any given time? In the Wikipedia Image of the Week series, our curators will share the stories behind some of our most extraordinary objects that you might not otherwise have a chance to see.

Why Wikipedia? Well, to share these objects with more people, we've photographed dozens of objects and donated the images for use in Wikipedia articles. Read the first Wikipedia Image of the Week blog to learn more about why and how we have donated over 264 images to Wikipedia. 

This week, learn about our Poodle Skirt and Matching Collar from American Collection curator Janna Bennett …

Poodle skirt and matching collar  Poodle skirt - detail

Images: cc by-sa 3.0 The Children's Museum of Indianapolis 

  • Accession Number: 2002.35.1.1-.2
  • Year: 1950s

Youth culture had become a recognizable market in the 1950s and young people spent most of their money on clothes and entertainment. Many fashionable young girls who followed the latest trends bought poodle skirts to wear to sock hops where they would jitterbug to the tunes by Haley and Elvis with their skirts swirling around them.

Poodle skirts, or circle skirts, are mid-calf length skirts made from a variety of fabrics with an attached felt applique such as a poodle. The variety of appliques was endless and included flowers, records, and cars. The poodle skirt in our collection includes a matching collar that would be worn over a blouse to complete the look.

Want to learn even more about our collections? Browse the blog's Wikipedia category to catch up on past Wikipedia Images of the Week or read more on the Museum Collection page!

 

Families around the World: The Castellers of Catalonia

This is the first post in a series on the traditions and experiences of families from around the world. We have partnerships with people in many different countries, including Catalonia, a region of Spain with a unique and distinct culture.

After recent press in the New York Times about the Catalan tradition of "castelling," we were inspired to learn more about what castelling is really like from someone who has grown up with the tradition. This post is written by Àlex Hinojo, Wikipedian in Residence at the National Art Museum of Catalonia in Barcelona. Àlex has worked with our own Wikipedian in Residence, Lori Phillips, to translate our Wikipedia articles into Spanish and Catalan.

''Castells,'' a group game where teams create and dismantle a human tower (or castle), is one of the most important traditions of Catalan culture. A castell is made up of men, women, and children (“castellers”) standing on shoulders often as high as six levels!  The game reflects the idea that if we join forces we can achieve great goals.

When building a castell everybody has a different role to play, and the children are the ones who climb the highest! The castell is completed only when everyone has climbed into place and the enxaneta (a little girl) climbs to the top and raises one hand with four fingers, symbolizing the four stripes of the Catalan flag. The game is not over until the whole group of castellers has descended.

Castelling is not only about reaching a goal; it's also about being a member of a community and safely creating something together. The game is usually played on Sunday mornings next to a church or the town council, or in any major venue within the villages throughout Catalonia. While there is a castells league and several teams who compete against each other, sometimes the teams work together to create a huge castell with up to nine levels. These larger human towers show that working together is more important than the team itself.

The motto of castellers is “Força, equilibri, valor i seny,” which means “strength, balance, courage, and wisdom.”  While the older children and adults support the younger children as they climb, they are also encouraging the shared values of sacrifice, effort, pursuing the common good, and respecting the decisions of the group. Through castelling, the teams are showing that the children can grow and climb the “castle” thanks to the strength and support of the adults.

The tradition of castelling is so important that in 2012 the castells were distinguished by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The Catalan people are so happy to share castelling with others from around the world!

Wikipedia Image of the Week #7

 

This is the seventh in a blog series that features a collections object from images that we have donated to Wikipedia. Read the first blog post to learn more about why and how we have donated more than 264 images to Wikimedia Commons, Wikipedia's image repository.

We need your help! Can you think of Wikipedia articles where this image can be added? First, read on to learn more about the object from our Natural Science curator, Dallas Evans. Then, tell us where you think this image belongs in Wikipedia! 

 

Image: cc by-sa 3.0 The Children's Museum of Indianapolis 

  • Scientific Name: Morpho menelaus
  • Accession Number: 96.53.3

 

The Morpho butterfly is a beautiful tropical butterfly known for its iridescent blue color.    This brilliant colorization is caused by light reflecting from the scale patterns of the butterfly’s wings. They can be found in among the forests of Central and South America.   Generally these butterflies can be spotted among shrubs and smaller trees.  When mating, these butterflies can be seen throughout different layers of the forest.  Pilots have reported spotting brief glimpses of brilliant blue as a Morpho flies over the jungle canopy. 

Help us make an impact! So far this image does not appear in any Wikipedia articles. Can you think of any articles that should include it?  Do some browsing and be creative. Leave a comment and we’ll share your suggestions with the Wikipedia community. Then, come back in a week to see where in Wikipedia this image ends up!

Don't forget, you can also suggest articles for the Electric Marx MobileQuail TrapAlaskan Red King CrabBaculites, and the Cricket-shaped Hair Pin.

Wikipedia Image of the Week #6

 

This is the sixth in a blog series that features a collections object from images that we have donated to Wikipedia. Read the first blog post to learn more about why and how we have donated more than 264 images to Wikimedia Commons, Wikipedia's image repository.

We need your help! Can you think of Wikipedia articles where this image can be added? First, read on to learn more about the object from our Cultural World curator, Tris Perkins. Then, tell us where you think this image belongs in Wikipedia! 

 

Image: cc by-sa 3.0 The Children's Museum of Indianapolis 

Sekhmet figure

  • Year: 712 BC - 395 AD, Late Period, 26th - 31st Dynasties
  • Location: Ancient Egypt
  • Accession Number: 2007.157.1

This statue represents the lion-headed deity Sekhmet (Sakhmet, Sekhet), known as the Sun Goddess.  She represented the destructive force of the sun.  Associated with war and retribution, it was said that she used arrows to pierce her enemies with fire.  Her breath was the hot desert wind.  Her body took on the glare of the midday sun. This figure was displayed inside of a tomb and probably originally had a sun disk headdress atop her head (now missing).  She carries an uas scepter and displays carvings of the Eye of Horus and lotus flowers.

Help us make an impact! So far this image does not appear in any English Wikipedia articles. Can you think of any articles that should include it?  Do some browsing and be creative. Leave a comment and we’ll share your suggestions with the Wikipedia community. Then, come back in a week to see where in Wikipedia this image ends up!

Don't forget, you can also suggest articles for the Electric Marx MobileQuail TrapAlaskan Red King CrabBaculites, and the Cricket-shaped Hair Pin.

 

Wikipedia Image of the Week #5

 

This is the fifth in a blog series that features a collections object from images that we have donated to Wikipedia. Read the first blog post to learn more about why and how we have donated more than 264 images to Wikimedia Commons, Wikipedia's image repository.

We need your help! Can you think of Wikipedia articles where this image can be added? First, read on to learn more about the object from our Cultural World curator, Tris Perkins. Then, tell us where you think this image belongs in Wikipedia! 

 

Image: cc by-sa 3.0 The Children's Museum of Indianapolis 

Cricket-shaped hairpin with kingfisher feathers

  • Year: 20th century
  • Location: China
  • Accession Number: 94.98.9

A woman's elegant hairstyle was once ornamented with this beautiful blue cricket. Delicate kingfisher (woodpecker) feathers are glued to the cricket's body to look like enamel. The iridescent quality of the feathers looks much like the shiny covering on real insects.  In China, crickets represent good fortune and luck.

Help us make an impact! So far these images do not appear in any Wikipedia articles. Can you think of any articles that should include them?  Do some browsing and be creative. Leave a comment and we’ll share your suggestions with the Wikipedia community. Then, come back in a week to see where in Wikipedia this image ends up!

Don't forget, you can also suggest articles for the Electric Marx MobileQuail Trap, Alaskan Red King Crab and Baculites!

Wikipedia Image of the Week #4

This is the fourth in a blog series that features a collections object from images that we have donated to Wikipedia. Read the first blog post to learn more about why and how we have donated more than 264 images to Wikimedia Commons, Wikipedia's image repository.

 

We need your help! Can you think of Wikipedia articles where this image can be added? First, read on to learn more about the object from our Natural Science curator, Dallas Evans. Then, tell us where you think this image belongs in Wikipedia! 

Image: cc by-sa 3.0 The Children's Museum of Indianapolis 

 

Image: cc by-sa 3.0 The Children's Museum of Indianapolis 

Baculites

  • Scientific name: Baculites compressus
  • Accession Number: 2001.12.1

​The baculites is a cephalopod, belonging to the same class of animals as squid, octopi, and the extinct ammonites.   The animal had a flatly coiled shell when young, but on reaching maturity the shell develops into its typical straight  “walking stick” form. A distinctive feature of these baculites is the complex suture pattern apparent in its fossilized shell.  

Help us make an impact! So far these images do not appear in any Wikipedia articles. Can you think of any articles that should include them?  Do some browsing and be creative. Leave a comment and we’ll share your suggestions with the Wikipedia community. Then, come back in a week to see where in Wikipedia this image ends up!

Don't forget, you can also suggest articles for the Electric Marx MobileQuail Trap, and the Alaskan Red King Crab!

Wikipedia Image of the Week #3

 

This is the third in a blog series that features a collections object from images that we have donated to Wikipedia. Read the first blog post to learn more about why and how we have donated more than 264 images to Wikimedia Commons, Wikipedia's image repository.

We need your help! Can you think of Wikipedia articles where this image can be added? First, read on to learn more about the object from our Natural Science curator, Dallas Evans. Then, tell us where you think this image belongs in Wikipedia! 

Alaskan Red King Crab

Image: cc by-sa 3.0 The Children's Museum of Indianapolis 

 

Alaskan Red King Crab

  • Scientific name: Paralithodes camtschaticus
  • Accession Number: 2001.20.1

​The Red king crab is one of the larger living crabs in the world and can have a leg span of nearly 5 ft.  Since a red king crab has an exoskeleton (shell) it must molt in order to grow.  The commercial harvesting of these crabs has been highlighted in The Discovery Channel program Deadliest Catch.  The catching of Red king crabs constitutes one of the most valuable fisheries for Alaska.

Help us make an impact! So far this image does not appear in any Wikipedia articles. Can you think of any articles that should include this image?  Do some browsing and be creative. Leave a comment and we’ll share your suggestions with the Wikipedia community. Then, come back in a week to see where in Wikipedia this image ends up!

Don't forget, you can also suggest articles for the Electric Marx Mobile and the Quail Trap!

 

Wikipedia Image of the Week #2

This is the second in a blog series that features a collections object from images that we have donated to Wikipedia. Read the first blog post to learn more about why and how we have donated more than 264 images to Wikimedia Commons, Wikipedia's image repository.

We need your help! Can you think of Wikipedia articles where this image can be added? First, read on to learn more about the object from our Cultural World curator, Tris Perkins. Then, tell us where you think this image belongs in Wikipedia! 

Image: cc by-sa 3.0 The Children's Museum of Indianapolis 

Quail trap (or jebak puyuh)

  • Year: Mid-20th century
  • Location: Malaysia
  • Accession Number: 86.145.3

Although this looks like a regular bird cage, it’s actually a trap for catching quails.  A female quail is placed in the basket or woven container in the back of the cage with netting placed in front.  When the female calls out, it attracts a male.  When he steps onto the trigger in front of the basket, he causes the net to fall on and trap him.  Although wild quails no longer exist in Malaysia, jebak puyuh continue to be created as decorative items.

Help us make an impact! So far this image does not appear in any Wikipedia articles. Can you think of any articles that should include this image?  Do some browsing and be creative. Leave a comment and we’ll share your suggestions with the Wikipedia community. Then, come back in a week to see where in Wikipedia this image ends up!

Wikipedia Image Update! Since last week, our first Wikipedia Image of the Week, the Electric Marx Mobile, was added to the Danish Wikipedia article "Toy car."

Learn about QRpedia on This Week's Wow!

Some months ago I shared a little about the special QRpedia codes that we have in exhibits around the museum. When you scan these unique QR codes they go directly to Wikipedia articles about our collections objects. While Wikipedians (volunteers who edit Wikipedia articles) already know a lot about QRpedia codes, many museum visitors do not. I was very excited to teach Claire and Josh (and you!) all about QRpedia in This Week's Wow!

While I have been the Wikipedian in Residence at The Children's Museum for over a year and a half, this is my very first This Week's Wow appearance.  My four year old son is a huge fan of This Week's Wow, so he was amazed to see his very own mom on his favorite show.  His reaction: "Mommy, how did you get in there??" That will have to remain a mystery.

Check out This Week's Wow to learn all about our QRpedia codes, from who wrote the Wikipedia articles to the special feature that helps even more visitors learn about objects like Captain Kidd's cannon...

Introducing...The Wikipedia Image of the Week!

You might not realize it, but over the past year the Children’s Museum has been hard at work taking pictures of objects from our collection and making them available to the public in Wikipedia. Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia that is written and managed by the community that uses it, so the success of Wikipedia largely depends on the quality of the content and images that people contribute. 

Because Wikipedia is such a widely-used free source of information, The Children’s Museum considers it a great place to share images of our objects and information from our experts. With 120,000 artifacts, The Children’s Museum has a wide range of images that we can contribute to a broad range of topics (like “Pie” or specific topics like “Bucky (Tyrannosaurus rex).")  We only get the opportunity to put a small number of objects on display in the museum, so contributing images to Wikipedia is a good way for the public to see objects typically kept in storage.

So far we have donated 264 images to Wikimedia Commons, which is the image repository for Wikipedia. Our contributions have included everything from toys to tribal masks from our American, Cultural World, and Natural Science Collections.

Once our images are in Wikimedia Commons, volunteers from all over the world who edit Wikipedia articles - called Wikipedians - find our images and place them in related Wikipedia articles. Did you know that once an image is in a Wikipedia article written in English, it’s often used in Wikipedia articles of many languages?  Wikipedia includes articles in over 280 languages! Another reason we contribute images to Wikipedia is because it makes it easy to share pictures of our objects with families from all over the world.

But it takes a lot of work for Wikipedians to place these images in articles – and we need your help! This is the first in a blog series that will feature one of our donated images and give you the opportunity to see where this image can end up in Wikipedia. Are you ready?

Wikipedia Image of the Week #1:

Image: cc by-sa 3.0 The Children's Museum of Indianapolis

The Electric Marx Mobile

  • Year: 1959
  • Accession Number: 2006.8.28
  • Maker: Louis Marx Company
  • Material: Lithographed Steel

This electric “Marx Mobile” was made for driving fun! From the ignition key in the dashboard to the classic fins at the rear, this car mimicked real vehicles of the 1950s and 1960s. Using an electric motor, this riding toy transported kids from pedal power to the battery powered toys popular today. 

Help us make an impact! So far this image only appears in the Hafner Manufacturing Company article.  Can you think of any other Wikipedia articles that should include this image? How about the detail image of its intricate dashboard? Do some browsing and be creative. Leave a comment and we’ll share your suggestions with the Wikipedia community. Then, come back in two weeks to see where in Wikipedia this image ends up! 

Sharing the Wikipedia love

Lori Phillips The Children’s Museum is very proud and excited this week to share that our Wikipedian-in-Residence, Lori Phillips, was appointed US Cultural Partnerships Coordinator by the Wikimedia Foundation.

Sounds really important, right? But what does it mean?

The Children’s Museum recognizes that Wikipedia is a frequently-used source of information for families. We brought Lori here to work with our curators and volunteers who write Wikipedia articles to ensure that the content in Wikipedia related to The Children’s Museum was accurate, informative, and accessible to families and children everywhere.

We're not the only museum who recognizes the value of contributing to Wikipedia, and now Lori will lead an effort to help other US museums do what we've done.

In the past year and a half, the work Lori has done has far-exceeded our expectations. We have hundreds of images of our objects in Wikipedia articles and volunteers around the world are helping to write, edit, and translate articles about our museum in many languages. Lori even managed to bring Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales, to the museum to see the work we’ve been doing.

Cathy Hamaker, Jimmy Wales, Lori Phillips, David Donaldson, Angie McNew, Janna BennettThanks to Lori’s great work, the Children’s Museum has been leading in the development of projects for the GLAM-Wiki community (GLAM stands for Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums.)  GLAM-Wiki is an emerging international group of Wikipedians who assist cultural institutions with collaborating with Wikipedia in order to share their resources and expertise.

Lori will continue to serve as Wikipedian-in-Residence at The Children’s Museum while also serving in this new role with the Wikimedia Foundation (the organization that operates Wikipedia and other collaborative wiki projects). She’ll be taking all the great things she has learned from The Children’s Museum Wikipedia effort plus all the connections and partnerships she has fostered, and will work with the Wikipedia community to build a support system for other US cultural institutions who want to participate in the GLAM-Wiki project and collaborate with Wikipedia.

We are proud that Lori and The Children’s Museum has been at the forefront of this community of cultural organizations as it has grown and become established over the past two years. The work that this community is doing on a global scale has made huge strides toward making cultural heritage more accessible to the world. We’re looking forward to seeing how Lori and the GLAM community can help even more museums around the US begin partnerships with Wikipedia. Our collaboration with Wikipedia has been extremely rewarding and we know other museums will feel the same way.

If you’d like to learn more about Lori and the work she has been doing with Wikipedia, see some of our past blog posts.

You can also read the announcement on the Wikimedia Foundation blog.