Code for BTV Brigade of Civic Hackers Expands Matthew Thorsen Photo Exhibit at Vermont History Museum


New Interactive VT Music History Museum Kiosk Programmed by Volunteer

Big Heavy World sends a big 'Thank you!" out to volunteer programmer Christina Hamilton and the Code for BTV organization for creating the new interactive audio-visual kiosk for Big Heavy World's ‘Vermont Music Far & Wide’ exhibit at the Vermont History Museum. About 100 band portraits by photographer Matthew Thorsen now have corresponding audio of his voice and music from many of the artist portrayed. The exhibit and new interactive kiosk are located in the Vermont Historical Society’s Local History Gallery where the walls are full of Thorsen's Vermont music images through July.

The original images of Vermont musical artists were taken in the 1990s and framed with support from Seven Days and Creative Habitat. Big Heavy World recorded Thorsen’s descriptions of each image for an interpretive audio program that was available by cell phone while the exhibit originally toured. The audio includes his impressions, the story of taking the photos, and anecdotes and music history that is special to hear in his own voice. Many bands allowed their music to be included, so exhibit-goers can see and hear a decade-long slice of Vermont’s music history. The photographs toured Vermont in 2011-2012 as ‘Sound Proof: VT Music Images 1990-2000.’ Thorsen recently passed away; the Sound Proof exhibit continues as a reminder of his unique personal artistry and his vast contribution to Vermont’s arts community

Hamilton's custom HTML and Java code was loaded with Thorsen's images and audio files onto an Apple iPad and accessed with the Kiosk Pro app. The iPad was installed in a protective floor stand contributed by LeZot Camera. Christina is a volunteer for Code for BTV, a group of civic technologists based at Big Heavy World who code projects to benefit the community. Christina’s kiosk project code will be shared as open source via the Code for BTV GitHub repository for others to adapt for their own audio-visual interpretative display projects.


‘Vermont Music Far & Wide’ was made possible with support from The Vermont Humanities Council; the Lake Champlain Basin Program; University of Vermont Office of the Vice President for Research; the City of Burlington and the Burlington Community & Economic Development Office; the Vermont Community Foundation; Seven Days; the Vermont Folklife Center; and Vermont Community Access Media (VCAM). The exhibit is presented with special thanks to Chico Lager; Eva Sollberger; Creston Lea; Andy Kolovos; Neale Lunderville; Will Clavelle; Pete Gershon, Robert Hooker and Justin Crowther.

The Vermont History Museum is located at 109 State Street in Montpelier and is open Tuesday through Saturday 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. The museum is wheelchair accessible. 

For more information contact James Lockridge,, (802) 865-1140.

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