What is MuseWeb’s mission?

The MuseWeb Foundation’s mission is to transform the business of culture by supporting innovative projects that increase the inclusivity, accessibility and sustainability of the arts and heritage.

Be Here: Baltimore participants line up to exchange their story for free icecream!

What are the goals of the Be Here projects?

  • To geolocate cultural content and the stories of a town or city on free and open platforms
  • To create and sustain opportunities for a diverse range of creators to tell the stories Baltimore in their own words and voices
  • To make connections between local institutions and neighborhoods and between your town and other cities and places around the world
  • To create new tourism and business opportunities for Baltimore businesses, cultural institutions, universities, and the public

How is this project different from other storytelling/story collecting projects such as Saving Places or StoryCorps?

  • Be Here’s focus is on stories that can be pinned to a specific location. While the stories can be about anything, they need to reference a place–whether that place is well known or not. This is different from the widely known StoryCorps project.
  • Be Here stories don’t have to reference historic or even “significant” events or places, unlike the Saving Places initiative. We believe that what is worthy of saving is purely in the mind and eye of storyteller. To that end, Be Here stories can be about anything–food, immigration, water, sports, etc .
  • Be Here stories are personal in nature, recounting events and places from human perspectives. Stories do not have to reference historic happenings or previously recorded “text book” topics.

What is geolocation?

Geolocation is the identification of the real-world geographic location of an object. Geolocation has been around for a while. Just think about GoogleMaps, which is able to find a specific location and direct you towards that location because each location has coordinates attached to it.

Because of the popularity of mobile phones, the uses of geolocation are expanding – like geo-locating stories. Stories can be placed in a geographic location using an address or latitude/longitude coordinates and then someone using a location-aware mobile app can be alerted to the availability of stories nearby when they enter that area.

What is cultural storytelling?

To put it simply, cultural stories are historic, community or factual events and information told in creative and immersive ways. Your cultural stories inspire others with your passion for an aspect of Baltimore’s many histories, communities and cultures.

We don’t want to hear dry facts. Tell us about the personalities of the people you are talking about. Help us imagine the times and the people in our heads – what is the story behind that architectural style, how did that artwork get here, what are the stories behind this neighborhood?

FAQS for Be Here storytellers

To whom does the content I create for Be Here belong?

The content belongs to you. Neither the MuseWeb Foundation nor the Smithsonian claims any ownership or responsibility for your content. All intellectual property and copyright in the content you create as part of this grant project remains yours, and you are fully and solely responsible for it.

Where do I upload my content?

We recommend that storytellers upload to several platforms, among them the Museum on Main Street storytelling website, SoundCloud, or YouTube. Get a list of more platforms and pros and cons for each.

How do I tag my content so that it becomes part of the larger Be Here community?

Please tag your Be Here: Main Street stories with the hashtag #bHereMainSt. For Baltimore storytellers, please use the #BhereBmore hashtag. It’s also a good idea to add our handle to get our attention. We’re at @museweb on Twitter. We’re also on Facebook.

I’m a beginner storyteller. Where do I find resources to help with recording and editing stories?

Check out our in-depth resources for storytellers, including using creative commons content, how to edit, where to publish, etc.

What kinds of stories are you looking for?

Be Here stories can be about almost anything that relates to time, time, place, and experience. For ideas about how to create a great story, check out our blog. We’ve also included a small selection of sample stories for you to explore. Many more stories can be found on SoundCloud and the Museum on Main Street website.

FAQS for Baltimore Content Creators

What makes a proposal strong?

The use of cultural content
Plan to use gallery, library, archives, or museum content in your tour, and plan to geolocate that content both in the place you are talking about and the institution is came from. Are there other locations – in Baltimore or beyond – where your story is relevant? Add those geo-locations too!

Creating connections across institutions, neighborhoods, and/or cities
Show how your stories will make connections across the city and even to other cities or places around the globe.

Create multiple stops
Plan to have at least 10 stops or stories to tell. Most tours are 10-15 stops. If you plan to have fewer than 10 stops, explain why.

Ideas for future content
You will have one month to create your content, but what about after that? Do you have ideas for expanding on the stories or improving them? Do you know of local, national, or international stakeholders who might benefit from your stories and therefore be interested in supporting the expansion of your project? MuseWeb wants to help you find the support necessary for you to continue your storytelling.

Be Here Workshop

Learn more about the Be Here project and what makes for a strong proposal. In this online workshop we start with a description of the project and an explanation of geolocation and cultural storytelling, followed by an tour of the izi.TRAVEL interface to publish content, and finally the goals the of the project and what makes for a strong proposal.