Aurora Borealis is an 1865 painting by Frederic Edwin Church of the Aurora Borealis and the arctic expedition of Dr. Isaac Hayes. The painting measures 56 x 83 1/2 in. (142.3 x 212.2 cm) and is now owned by the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
The artist (Frederic Edwin Church) had to convey the experience of watching the aurora without having witnessed it himself.
Returning to this article because I wanted to add how awesome it is to know whenever one of the very authors, photographers, artists, etc. who’s work you post and source on tumblr give you props for promoting their work rather than rage about it and cry about copyright and “theft” like others tend to do.
In this case I would like to return those props and respect to Meghan Ferriter who is an interdisciplinary researcher and anthropologist and the original author of the above Wikipedia article on a 1865 painting by Frederic Edwin Church which is called “Aurora Borealis” and as you can see, is quite stunning. I think I cheese just as much as they do when this happens, it’s a mutual cheesing based on celebrating the sharing of knowledge.
This is a fascinating example of cultural heritage content held at a museum being linked (literally) in a central and open access knowledge repository, then accessed and shared in a social networking space: overlapping forms of digital communication.
This was a social share of Smithsonian content; by way of an outreach and engagement event that sought to share Smithsonian collections by explaining their context and content through (or on) Wikipedia. Then that content was taken up by a user on a social media network and shared with his followers. Then his followers responded to that content by liking and reblogging and replying to the content. This Smithsonian-housed content was, therefore, literally linked to broader scientific debates via @ikenbot’s page and the Tumblr/social media sharing loop.
Also, as a leader in the science Tumblr section, @ikenbot’s decision to reference the Wikipedia article adds authority or credit to the validity of Wikipedia within that particular community of practice on Tumblr (science-focused bloggers).
Is this a case of “If you build it, they will share…”? Perhaps not, yet this instance is a powerfully persuasive example, even as a one-off. It demonstrates the realities of sourcing and sharing content in digital spaces; furthermore, it is a testament to the ways Smithsonian Institution and Wikipedia content meshes and unfolds across digital space through social and cultural behaviors in digital spaces. Plus, it was quite cool to have my own words cited and sourced as a part of the summarization of the image.
Thank you again Meghan and all other Wikipedia authors who provide worthwhile information for the public to indulge in!
W00T!! Thanks, Ken! I’m just gonna plug Wikipedia and other online/digital knowledge repositories (check out dp.la too!) as places to which YOU — yes, you! and “you” is ANYONE — can contribute and make change online that affects the things we know and do IRL.
Check out Wikipedia’s #tooFEW categories, especially, and get stuck in to challenging what we know and how we know it by making POC and women contributions more visible on Wikipedia - which stories are we missing? What’s “notable” to you? What can you add to public discourse that broadens understanding?
Linked & open knowledge is the best - make your work open, let people use it… revel and delight in finding new ways to spark learning and discovery! There’s just too much cool art/science/math/socialandcultural/information/data to keep it locked up or just possess it - get out there, #unleashtheknowledge