Nowadays, everything is recorded on video, tweeted in 140 characters, or snapped in a photograph. It's easy to document the present because of the multitude of technology that allows us to do so. It will be easy (for better or for worse) to track the progression of everyday life, major events, and social change 10, 20, 50, and even 100 years in the future.
What, however, can be done about the past? How can we show the importance that history has had upon our present selves? Every year that passes has us drifting further away from the people, memories, details, and essence that buzzes around those events and people that are written in our history books. Sadly, technology was limited to grainy, faded photographs and silent videos. The printed word, as influential and important as it is, just doesn't have that same humanistic and visual quality. Of course, processing the whole of human recorded thought is a daunting undertaking. So, what one organization did was focus on just one person: John F. Kennedy Jr. An important man, but only one man in all of history, in all of time. However, the impact of a single man, even today, is astonishing.
JFK50.org is a website that showcases the legacy of JFK on present day society. It has substantial amount of information, quotes, and facts on the former President. The site is very engaging, with lots of fun graphics, photographs, and even an interactive timeline. They have a great tagline that sums it up beautifully: "Celebrate the past to awaken the future." The interviews with professionals in various fields––the arts, public service, the environment, etc—is where the phrase really shines through.
The interviewees are varied and interesting; some share their direct thoughts on JFK and his impact on them, but others simply talk about their passion, desire for change, and inspirations. All are stemmed by the President's thoughts, ideas, words, and actions. The founders of Design Museum Boston were interviewed for the project. Derek and Sam spoke about how design can have a important societal impact. By raising awareness about design we can improve our relationship with others, how we consume goods, and how we help people.
Design Museum Boston is recording it's history with all of the glory of today's technologies: video, photographs, social media, and even the archaic print medium. We hope that what we do now will have a positive and influential impact on the future, much like John F. Kennedy Jr. did. We can build a literal time capsule of progress, successes, and failures. And this is what happens when you design a museum. Unfortunately, we cannot go back in time (Yet. Where's Doctor Who when you need him?) But we can question, explore, and investigate people today to reveal history's lurking residual effects. With organizations like JFK50.org, we can preserve the importance of history for generations to come.