On Saturday, February 1st, I launched Project Lizzie, a storytelling effort that’s built upon 99 postcards that were postmarked between 1904 and 1925. I first wrote about the project in a September 2012 post entitled Adding Measurable Value with Story. Since publishing that post, I’ve been working to uncover the life story of a woman whom I’ve never met, nor to the best of my knowledge, have any family connection to.
I’ve followed clues from both digital and analog artifacts–from online services like Google and Ancestry.com–to snail-mailing city clerks to acquire death certificates. And I’ve learned something: for every mystery that I solve, new mysteries surface. The journey has lead me to old cemeteries and libraries where clues were etched into everything from stone to microfiche.
The Project Lizzie website is a platform that offers visitors multiple ways to interact with the story. If you want to simply follow the story, just read the it from the very beginning. If you want to spend some time flipping through all 99 of the postcards, visit the project’s Postcard Gallery. And, finally, if you want to take a more active role in the storytelling, you can either start your own research or accept some of the Special Assignments.
For me, the most satisfying part of the project’s launch were the reactions from visitors. For example, just twelve hours into the project, educators were tweeting about how the project could be used as a teaching tool for students. It just goes to show what can happen when smart people are allowed to use a platform for things that they are passionate about.