Tuesday, August 22, 2006

a house divided


One of the most impressive presentations at a museum that strives to impress (that would be the Lincoln Museum in Springfield, IL – a multimedia spectacular that puts Disneyland’s robotronic Lincoln to shame) is a brief four minute movie -- an animated timeline, actually -- that plots the progress of the Civil War from the point of Lincoln’s election, through secession, his inauguration, and on to battle.

The Union and Confederacy are represented in blue and red (ya think they could have used blue and grey, but oh no -- had to be blue and red), and as the clock ticks -- with one second equal to one week -- the battlefront oscillates and morphs and serpentines, punctuated with the brief explosions of battles (Shilo, Antietam, Gettysburg), as the body count tallies in the corner (over 1 million before the war is done). Then Sherman marches to the sea and cuts the final gash that seals the surrender of the South.

The movie closes with Lincoln’s assassination.

Edward Tufte would be proud – it’s brilliant information design.

I, frankly, was a wreck.

[Image Credit: The flag graphic above is by Rolyn Barthelman of NYC who created it after the last presidential election.]

1 comment:

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