DECEMBER 2019: Laura Harrison, Access 3D Lab, University of South Florida

Thursday, December 19, 2019 at 7 PM – 8 PM at Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Natural History Center

Digital Storytelling and the Past, Present and Future of Egmont Key

Laura Harrison, PhD, Director, Access 3D Lab, University of South Florida

Egmont Key is a diminutive island located at the confluence of the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay. Because of its strategic location, the island played a significant role in Florida’s history. It was a haven for runaway slaves and Union soldiers during the Civil War, a Seminole prison during the Indian Removal Period, an outpost for rum runners during Prohibition, and a defensive location during multiple 19th and 20th century conflicts. Today, these histories (and others) are largely invisible to the public, due to limited tourism and outreach infrastructure on the island. Coastal erosion also threatens to destroy and submerge several historic buildings.

This presentation details an ongoing interdisciplinary project aimed at making Egmont Key’s invisible stories visible to the public, and digitally preserving endangered heritage with 3D laser scanning. A team from the University of South Florida in collaboration with the Seminole Tribal Historic Preservation Office and the Egmont Key Alliance used archival research, community outreach, and virtualization technologies to create immersive 3D visualizations of heritage sites that tell the many stories of Egmont Key’s past, present and future.

Dr. Laura K. Harrison is a Research Assistant Professor at the University of South Florida, and the Director of Access 3D Lab - a research lab that incubates and supports transformative research in the digital realm. She is an advocate of interdisciplinary approaches in archaeology, as well as open access and digitization in the sciences and humanities. Originally trained as a Bronze Age archaeologist, Dr. Harrison became interested in digital heritage during her research at a threatened site in Turkey. She has worked on archaeology and heritage projects in the United States, Greece, Turkey, Spain, Italy, France and Romania. She holds a Ph.D. and an M.A. in Anthropology from the University at Buffalo, and a B.A. in Anthropology and Art History from Ithaca College.

This program is sponsored by the Central Gulf Coast Archaeological Society, and the Alliance for Weedon Island Archaeological Research and Education.