“I used to talk about the digital future, but it’s really the digital present,” Young told The Washington Post, “We’re bringing the museum beyond its four walls. … It’s like a museum in your pocket. The goal was really to think about how we could bring history in your hands,” he added. “I really think the experience of going to the museum … is transformative. And … what we wanted out of the site is something transformative as well.”
The museum includes a chilling virtual tour of the L’Aurore ship which was designed to carry over 600 slaves from West Africa to Haiti in 1784 to work on sugar and coffee plantations, the museum notes. Visitors can also view a time-lapse video that tracks the movement of nearly 31,042 slave ships that transported millions of captive people from Africa to other parts of the world including Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas between 1514 and 1860.
The Searchable Museum also includes digital artifacts that cannot be seen currently in person at the museum including a shawl given by Britain’s Queen Victoria to the famous underground railroad conductor Harriet Tubman, as well as a simple straw hat owned by the civil rights and bus boycott leader Rosa Parks.
The project took nearly a year to finalize and was funded with the support of Bloomberg Philanthropies, WaPo.
You can take a virtual tour of the Searchable Museum here for free.