Welcome to the new minniesland.com

It’s been about eleven years since I uploaded the first version of minniesland.com to the web.  The catch phrase I adopted for the site was “Audubon’s home on the Net.” It was done on the cheap with me writing the code with FrontPage 2000 and finding an inexpensive but very good web host. A lot has changed in the past decade.  The great web host got sold to someone else. A couple of new versions of FrontPage came out, but I never got around to upgrading…and then finally missed the opportunity for good.

My old website

This is how the home page of minniesland.com looked in December 2011.

The original website was modeled on a house, that is, a virtual home. Different parts of the site were associated with different rooms — e.g., “the print room” and “the library” covered the print and book areas, “the study” included the basic educational material, and “the lounge” was for articles, links and other fun stuff (including contributions from guests). This worked pretty well when minniesland.com was a small site, but as it became larger and unwieldy from a management point-of-view, it became clear that the website needed a redesign to improve navigation and layout.

The Audubon Estate on the Banks of the Hudson. Lithograph, Major and Knapp from Valentine's Manual, 1865. The Audubons named their home Minniesland, and I named my website after their home.

The Audubon Estate on the Banks of the Hudson. Lithograph by Major and Knapp, N.Y. For D. T. Valentine's Manual, 1865.

In 2009 I tried to learn Expression Web (the software that replaced FrontPage), but didn’t get very far with it.  In the spring of 2011 I tried to find someone to do a redesign for me but with no success. Last summer I decided to take online video classes to help me learn new software and improve my skills. Less frustration, more progress…and now a new website in time for Audubon’s 227th Birthday on April 26. Happy Birthday JJA!

John James Audubon from Harper's Monthly Magazine (October 1880)

Reproduction of a print by C. Turner of a miniature by Frederick Cruikshank. This engraving of John James Audubon appeared in the October 1880 issue of Harper's Monthly Magazine.

Is the website different? The content is basically the same but is presented differently. Part of the website (primarily the learning area — which corresponds to the old “study” area) is still “under construction” but I hope it will be online in the next couple of months.  Over time I hope to add videos and other cool things. One thing I learned,

One of the last pieces of the redesign was to install a BLOG in place of the old NEWS area.  And here it is.  I don’t know very much about how it works…YET.  But now and then I have something to say about Audubon and his family, or about what’s new at minniesland.com, so please bear with me as I shove myself along the learning curve.

Thank you for visiting this time, and I hope you will join me again in the future as I continue to learn about and reflect on Audubon, his story and his work…and whatever else comes to mind.