Recently I created a “Famous Boots of Wimberley, Texas” story map for four reasons: First, I wanted to show educators and the general public how to integrate art, history, science, technology, geography, and GIS. My colleagues and I receive frequent inquiries from people asking how to integrate art into STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) educational programs, and Wimberley’s giant boots are a good illustration of this integration. Second, I wanted to test the new capabilities of the side accordion story map configurable app. This app is an easy and compelling way to tell a story.
Third, I wanted to demonstrate that every community has a story, and story maps are a visually compelling, easy-to-create way of telling that story. When I visited the town for the first time after a series of presentations I gave at the geography department of nearby Texas State University, I learned about the boot project from my town walkabout. It was so interesting to me that I began collecting information, photographs, and video, and a short time later, I had created the story map that integrates all of these types of multimedia. The boot project brought together local artists, the Chamber of Commerce, local businesses, and the entire community, and serves as a source of city pride as well as a tourist attraction. Fourth, it is my hope that my brief story map (see my video) can in some small way inspire people in another location to think creatively about a place-based arts project that can help build pride in their own community.
If I can do this for a community that I had just learned about, how much more can you and your students tell a story for which you conduct more in-depth research and may even have local knowledge about!