HackTheHearst Winning Teams and Apps

HackTheHearst, the Hearst Museum of Anthropology's first-ever hackathon, has just concluded! On Sunday, September 21, 2014, ten teams, comprising 43 hackers, were given an opportunity to showcase their skills and their creations.

The goal of HackTheHearst was to create new ways of interacting with the Museum's collections data in order for more people to discover, research, learn from the vast collection of resources and artifacts, much of which never make it into the Museum's small exhibit space. With over three million objects included on more than 640,000 catalog records, the Hearst Museum needed a better way to showcase their collection—and digital access is definitely the way to reach the most users.

As participants filed in Sunday morning, teams began making last-minute preparations and planning their presentations at their assigned tables. The first part of the day was centered around "expo-style" presentations, where judges roamed the room talking to each team about their projects, asking questions, and taking careful notes. Excitement and anticipation filled the room as teams got glimpses of each others ideas and designs.

Other festivities throughout the day included raffle prizes, an anthropology book sale, swag bags and other giveaways, and delicious food. Raffle prizes included passes and gift certificates to local museums and cafes, books about anthropology, and more.

Formal presentations took up the next part of the afternoon, with each team given the chance to really show off their hard work to the audience, which included participants, judges, mentors, volunteers, staff, and members of the public. Projects ranged from games for students, to new and useful tools for searching, and ways to organize and save information for later use. We were taken through an Egyptology matching game for K–12 students, shown how we can select objects from hand-outlined geographic regions, quizzed about the dates of artifacts in a museum simulation game, given a number of new and exciting ways to discover and explore the collection, and even saw a demonstration of 3D augmented reality and its potential for our collection!

The moment we'd all been waiting for finally arrived after careful deliberation from judges. Winning categories included first and second place prizes for Best Overall App, first and second prizes for best K–12 apps, and prizes for best app for tribes and heritage communities and for best research app. Winning projects were determined based on design, technical merit, and functionality.

First Place for Best Overall App went to Team I School, who created Yapi Kapi ("Remember Your Story" in Lakota). Yapi Kapi is a great tool for K–12 students to view all cataloged objects from a particular region that is specified by drawing a geographic shape onto a map. Users can peruse artifacts from this region and then save items into their "satchel" for later viewing, as well as being able to annotate each catalog item in their sachel. Team I School was also awarded the prize for Best Heritage App prize for Yapi Kapi.

The other winning teams were:

Best Overall App
1st Place: Team I School with "Yapi Kapi"
2nd Place: Blue Lotus Crocodiles with "Time Capsule: Ancient Egypt"

Best Research App
1st Place: Übergrads with "Cleo"

Best Tribes/Heritage App
1st Place: Team I School with "Yapi Kapi"

Best K–12 App
1st Place: Blue Lotus Crocodiles with "Time Capsule: Ancient Egypt"
2nd Place: The Wheeler Box Kids with "Museum Manager"

HackTheHearst was great success with many wonderful projects built and presented. Participants learned to use the Hearst API, build great interfaces, and really think through how users might want to interact with the Museum's collection. The Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology will continue to work with several of the teams to develop and host their projects and make them available for the public.