Visualizing Early Washington: A Digital Reconstruction of the Capital ca. 1814

YouTube – Visualizing Early Washington: A Digital Reconstruction of the Capital ca. 1814.

Above is a trailer, if you will, for an extraordinary masterpiece in historical imaging technology.  University of Maryland, Baltimore County’s Imaging Research Center (IRC) has existed since 1987 with the goal of exploring and expanding the possibilities imaging technology.  In a multi-disciplinarian collaboration with historians, geographers and cartographers, and thousands of IRC man-hours produced a program that allows one to view the fledgling Capital City and surrounding horizons for the first time with accurate topography and approximate buildings and farm lands, based on available sources, circa 1814.  For those of you a little rusty on your American History, this means we get a view of the city as the British would have seen Washington DC when they set fire to the capital and the White House during the War of 1812.

This is the exciting kind of collaborative project perfect for the university community, but possible even if to a lesser extent at other stages of education.  Not only does it offer students the opportunity to model professional collaboration–indeed, sometimes to participate in professional collaboration–it expands minds to what is possible in a multi-disciplinary approach.  In other words, it is good for academic fields, professionals, students and institutions!




Filed under Experiences, Experiencing History - Project Based Learning

3 responses to “Visualizing Early Washington: A Digital Reconstruction of the Capital ca. 1814

  1. George Munger’s (1781-1825) painting of the United States Capitol after the British burned the capitol in 1814, seems very similar to your recreation. Of course, the angle is different.

    • I had worked in Washington DC for a long time as a tour guide and educator (Close Up Foundation) and am familiar with a number of these “scenes” of the city. I was struck by the IBN video when they said that many of these were inaccurate with the tapography–but he goes on to say that Latrobe was particularly useful. I am also familiar with the Munger painting and think it must be the basis for the “monopoly board phase” of the capital shortly before the British set the torch to it! Great stuff, Barbara!! –>
      A really nice compilation of some of the finest pictures of early DC!!

      I did a week long series on DC and its spaces historically this past fall. The posts were based on the papers presented at the Washington Historical Society’s annual conference: I love DC history!!

  2. Pingback: Top Ten Most Popular Posts – Korea, Baseball, Beowulf, Soccer, DC and MORE! | Brush off the dust! History now!

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