Plimouth Plantation Goes On-Line
01/18/95 High-tech history; Plimoth Plantation enters computer age
from Patriot Ledger By J. Martin McOmber
PLYMOUTH -- Plimoth Plantation is stepping out of the 17th Century and into the computer age. As part of a major new exhibit to open this summer, the plantation will use interactive video and CD-ROM computer technology for the first time to enhance its telling of the Pilgrims' early life in America Until now, the plantation, which has relied mostly on a re-created 17th Century village and costumed guides to teach visitors about the Pilgrims, has done little to explore the Plymouth history after 1627. The new $600,000 display will expand the focus to 1692, when Plymouth Colony was absorbed by the Bay Colony, its Boston-based neighbor. Elizabeth Lodge, the museum's chief curator, said vistors will be able to use CD-ROM disks to follow the lives of the 156 people living in 1627 Plymouth as they and their descendents settle into their new land. "It will give visitors an answer about what happens to the people they meet in the village," she said.
The exhibit will focus on the vastly different fortunes of two women living in or near the settlement between 1620 and 1692: Mayflower passenger Mary Allerto Cushman and Sachem Awashonks, who lived in the nearby Wampanoag settlement. Through interactive video clips -- where visitors are able to select from a menu of questions for the women -- museum-goers can learn what life was like for settlers and Native Americans in each of the decades following the Pilgrims' landing. The videos will touch on such subjects as the rise and fall of the fur trade, the effects of war and disease on the natives and settlers, and the changing New England landscape. The display also will include a series of re-created rooms, both Native American and European, including an example of a 1689 Inn. The exhibit is scheduled to open in late July inside the museum's main visitors building. It is being paid for by a $350,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and private funds. It will be the first major new display at the plantation in nearly four years. --
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