Digital Humanities: Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants

Period of Performance

9/1/2010 - 12/31/2011

Funding Totals

$50,000.00 (approved)
$50,000.00 (awarded)

The Lower Eastside Girls Club Girl/Hood Project

FAIN: HD-51132-10

Lower Eastside Girls Club of New York (New York, NY 10003-9345)
Dave Pentecost (Project Director: March 2010 to July 2012)

Develop and test software to create 3D virtual reality performance based on local history of the Lower Eastside neighborhood where the Lower Eastside Girls Club is now located. The project will serve as a model for how humanities projects can take advantage of increasingly popular "fulldome" theaters found in museums across the nation.

The Girl/Hood project is a fulldome immersive history program that will launch the planetarium in the Lower Eastside Girls Club's Center for Community in 2011. It will employ an innovative mix of archival materials and computer generated imagery, produced by the staff and girls of the Girls Club, describing the life of a girl in the Lower East Side of Manhattan in five historical eras. The first episode will be based on the archaeological study that was performed on the site in preparation for groundbreaking in April of 2010. This application will cover the design of a low cost, streamlined production workflow that will allow us and other communities to create humanities content for small and portable planetariums. Most current programs for domes are either pure astronomy demonstrations or high-budget 3D science movies that are licensed from a few large science centers. There is an opportunity to use these venues to tell human stories to small and local audiences.

Media Coverage

Using a Robot to Throw a Wrench Into the Stereotyping of Girls (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Emily Hager
Publication: New York Times
Date: 9/10/2010
Abstract: NY Times article about the Lower Eastside Girls Club STEM programs, related to NEH-funded programs.

Immersive 3D dome is the Future of Gaming (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Joe Kukura
Publication: Allvoices
Date: 1/27/2012
Abstract: Coverage of the presentation of the Unity and mini-dome work, at MacWorld 2012, San Francisco

For Girls, Their Own Way to Reach the Heavens (Media Coverage)
Author(s): James Barron
Publication: NY Times
Date: 10/10/2013
Abstract: The Lower Eastside Girls Club's new building features its own planetarium. The club was formed in 1995 because local boys' clubs would not admit girls.

Associated Products

Domebase (Web Resource)
Title: Domebase
Author: David Pentecost
Abstract: Domebase is a website describing our development of a mini-dome authoring system for small planetarium production, based on the Unity game engine. It includes a how-to for producers interested in constructing their own hardware and software solution, as well as lessons learned, next steps, links to resources and Unity project files, and a description of the overall project - the construction by the Lower Eastside of Girls Club of a community science, art, and environmental center in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
Year: 2012
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: Domebase - Introduction
Secondary URL:
Secondary URL Description: The hardware components of the mini-dome authoring system - an under-$10,000 workstation for the production and previewing of dome programs in hemispheric projection.

Video of Unite 10 presentation: "Unity in the Wild" (Public Lecture or Presentation)
Title: Video of Unite 10 presentation: "Unity in the Wild"
Abstract: Part of a multi-presenter presentation on non-game uses of Unity 3D. A presentation of early stage work on projecting Unity in a dome using the Bourke fisheye camera rig. Location: the Unite 10 Unity developer conference in Montreal, Canada.
Author: David Pentecost
Date: 11/12/2010
Location: Old Montreal, Canada
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: Video recording of the presentation, posted on the Unity 3D website