Interpretive Projects

Scope of the Interactive Plan:

The Oakland Tribune Tower is located in downtown Oakland off of 13th street. The building is in good condition today and looks the same on the outside as it has for many decades. The Tower itself was built in 1923, with the building that it is attached to being built prior in 1906. The large neon letters that light up at night reading “Tribune” are still in place on the Tower’s four sides. They are maintained to this day in order to preserve the iconic image of the building as it presides over the City of Oakland, just as it has done for many years.

The first floor of the Tower itself is fairly accessible to the public due to the restaurant located on the ground level of the building. Much of the space above the lower levels is used as office space and for small businesses, and as such, has limited access. The Tower is located in the middle of a large urban area and not hard to spot out or travel to. However, one concern with accessibility is the limited parking around the Tower. There is a parking garage nearby and parking along the street, but much of this is taken up by residents of Oakland and employees in the Tower. This may be a concern with making the site a tourist location, and the parking issue will need to be revisited upon these interpretive plans being executed. Other than this, the only other issue that will need to be addressed in terms of accessibility of the building is its current users and how to properly accommodate them or work out an agreement with them in terms of use of the building.

The Tower is currently and actively used by other businesses. For example, there is the aforementioned restaurant that occupies the bottom floor of the building called “The Tribune Tavern”. This restaurant has done a lot to preserve the history and tradition of the Tower, incorporating many artifacts into the restaurant and almost making it a commemorative place for The Oakland Tribune while also serving as a restaurant. Our aim is to work alongside the businesses in the Tower and the restaurant on the ground floor to ensure that our interpretive plans are made possible while still allowing them to occupy their space. However, this endeavor might prove difficult as some of these interpretive plans do require a considerable amount of space in the Tower, but all in all, it would be most favorable if all parties concerned could continue to use the building.

At the same time, we would want to make sure that we are not neglecting the use the Tower serves the community today while carrying out these interpretive plans. This would take away from the key role that the Tower is playing in the community today, which is the present version of the past that we are trying to shed light upon. Carrying out these plans with the Tower would require some work and negotiation, but we believe it is possible to accomplish these interpretive plans, and that our final implementation would be well worth the effort.

A Different Perspective

Themes:

  • Historical
  • Past & Present Accessibility
  • Media Production
  • Technological Innovations
  • Ownership
  • Tourism

How we intend to reach out to each audience:

The Oakland Tribune has been reaching out to its audience throughout the years via the news. This is something we would like to continue, while simultaneously providing an inside perspective by re-creating the Oakland Tribune Tower as a museum. Before opening the museum, it would be ideal to meet with community members, building owner(s), restaurant owner(s), people involved in the publication of The Oakland Tribune, Safety Commissioner(s), Water and Power Department, etc., to ensure this museum would benefit the City of Oakland, and to make sure the community as a whole supports the re-opening of the Tower.

If it is decided to open the Tower, the current owner will certainly benefit by making a profit, considering that the museum will attract more people and bring in more money. Also, other stakeholders like restaurant owners and workers will gain an increase in revenue, resulting from the increase in the number of customers.  Community members will benefit from a free museum completely open to the public. And finally, the curiosity people will experience when hearing about the Tower will encourage them to engage with the Tower by looking inside, where they will find history told through narratives and material objects.

The cultural/ historical property of the Tower that has accumulated over time will now be shared with the public through a more intimate perspective. This “public” is comprised of people ranging from local community members to tourists visiting far from home.

Another way we will be reaching out to the community aside from newspaper will be through our multi-sensorial interpretative projects, which will cater to all age groups for the public to enjoy. There are four different interpretive plans:

  1. “The Interactive Tribune Museum” plan will immerse the visitor in the news publication process. A reproduction of the newsroom floor will be the setting for the museum. A linear timeline, showing progress from the origination of The Oakland Tribune as a news source to the contemporary period, will guide the visitor throughout decades that shaped the history and created the city of Oakland as we know it today.
  2. “Read All About It: Technological Innovations (for kids from 1 to 92)” is a plan that will take place on a track similar to a rollercoaster that will run through all the floors. Kids will be given a sheet of paper where they will have the chance to write their own news based on their experience within the museum or being in the City of Oakland.
  3. “Re-Imagining the Tower: An Alternative History of Oakland” is a steam-punk visual novel that seeks to immerse the user in an online, fictional retelling of an event that took place in Oakland during the 1920s.
  4. “Frozen in a moment: The Oakland Tribune Tower Audio Tour” is an audio tour taking you through a staged setting of the Tower reflective of a significant era of its past. The purpose of this is to convey the feelings/visuals/sounds of what it might have been like to work in the Tower news room on a typical business day in the 1950s.

The Oakland Tribune Tower as a whole is a continuum when it comes to the news being produced there. However, with the renovation of space through these interpretive plans, a new historical perspective will be ushered in that will engage the visitor with the rich history of the Tower.

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Posted on December 9, 2015, in Anthro136kF2015, Oakland-Tribune and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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