Mar 04

Building Project Infrastructure

In planning for an online exhibit, the steps are extensive.  First comes figuring out what should be displayed in the exhibit.  Then assessing why certain things should or should not be included.  After that gets sorted out, playing with the design of the site comes next.  Within that, the creator must storyboard and plan, while also trying to decide what is important to include in each page.  Why would a user want to continue from page to page, getting lost in your exhibit on purpose?  Or would they be better off going down the black hole of the Internet on some other tangent?

In planning for Rowing to Greatness, I’ve had to think about what pages would help draw the user in, while maintaining his or her freedom to venture about the exhibit at the own pace and on their own beeline.  I want to give the viewers ownership in their own journey through the artifacts I have carefully pulled together on the 1936 United States Olympic Men’s 8+.  In doing so, I’ve had to think about the best groupings for the artifacts, so that the stories are presented in a way that makes the most logical sense.  One page will include an interactive map, depicting the locations these men trained, raced, and traveled on their journey to greatness.  Another page will include the individual biographies of the men, so as to give the users an idea of where these men came from before they became one team.  Yet another page will include a contribution section, where rowers from today can insert their own stories, images, videos, etc., and comment on others stories as well.  As I continue building my project, I will keep in mind the way a user’s mind might travel through the information and how best to present it so that they stick around, and not venture out into the black hole.

Biographies

Screen shot of the “Biographies” section of the project.

Feb 25

Rowing to Greatness: Project Proposal

Historical Context and Content

Rowing is one of the oldest sports in America. The pinnacle of rowing achievement is the Olympics. The 1936 United States Olympic men’s 8+ (type of rowing shell) overcame all odds as a collegiate team and went on to win gold at the Olympics in Berlin. These young men fought incredibly hard for the chance to compete, and that led them to winning. This project focuses on their journey to the Olympics. It examines their individual stories and struggles that led them to rowing. Rowers of all ages can relate to the stories of these young men and how they fought. Within this project, images, stories, videos, and audio clips will be shared with users desiring to learn more about this historic boat and rowing. Maps will also be used to show where these young men rowed, both in collegiate competition and in the Olympics.

Questions within the scope of this project will include:

  • What brought these young men to rowing for the University of Washington?
  • What were these young men’s lives like during the Great Depression?
  • Where did these men row? Are these still used courses today?
  • How has rowing changed since the 1930s?
  • What were the implications of the American men’s 8+ traveling to Germany and competing in the Berlin Olympics under the watchful eyes of Hitler?
  • How do we remember the 1936 Olympics?
  • What key lessons can we take away from the 1936 Olympics and its outcomes?

Digital Technologies

This project will be utilizing Omeka, and its various plugins to display the content. It will be utilizing the Geolocation plugin, to show the locations these young men rowed and lived. I also plan to use the plugins incorporating audio and video, once I can get them working. There will be commenting features, allowing for users to share their thoughts and ideas on the different items being exhibited. I am exploring different platforms for creating a forum for rowers to be able to communicate with one another, and share their own rowing stories for the community to see.

Target Audiences

Rowers fulfill my primary audience, both past and present.  Rowers all have a common struggle that they’ve lived through: 2000 meters of pure, unadulterated hell.  No breaks, no timeouts, no substitutions, just 2000 meters of non-stop sprinting to the finish line.  Every rower knows what it feels like to sit at a start line and sense the combination of nerves and excitement, much like a racehorse at the gate of a race.  I want to bring the rowing community together to learn more about that Olympic Men’s 8+, but also to share their stories.  I want to create a dialogue between rowers and the project, which will ultimately help strengthen the project.  In preparing for the project, doing user research is key, and in interviewing rowers, I’ve found that the same themes are there, but the details and the memories are different.  I want to merge the history with the heritage of rowing.  Not only were these men rowers, but also they were witnesses to history: the Great Depression, the rise of Hitler in Germany, not to mention their own personal histories.  I want to bring the personal sense of rowing together with the history these men experienced.  As my project progresses, I’ll keep working with my target audience, so I can keep judging their engagement and their feelings of “author-ship” in the project.

Feb 24

Target Audience Personas

Rebecca Holgate Crew
Name: Rachel Jones
Demographic: White, American female Mid-twenties Middle class Single, with no children Full-time Engineer, rows when able
Descriptive Title: Working Adult, Missing Rowing
Quote: Life can be pretty hectic at times. Rowing keeps me grounded.
A Day in a Life Narrative:

Rachel goes to work at her engineering firm every day. She works with water treatment plants to keep the water clean and safe. When she gets off work, she tries to go to the gym about five times a week, using an ergometer (rowing machine) to work on her cardio fitness. In her other free time, she enjoys exploring her city with her dog and friends.
End Goals:

Rachel would like to get back into rowing on the water, for physical and mental purposes.
William Swain Coaching
Name: William Smith
Demographic: White, American male Mid-twenties Middle class Single, with no children College student, part time job
Descriptive Title: High School Rowing Coach
Quote: Discipline. If my coach tells me to do something, you do it.
A Day in a Life Narrative:

William coaches six days a week (Monday-Saturday), and he tries to go rowing, himself, at least three times a week. Will goes to class in the early morning, work in the late morning and early afternoon, then goes to coach in the evening. He enjoys coaching young men in the evenings, and then being able to go rowing. On Saturdays in the spring, he gets to watch his rowers compete against other high school rowers.
End Goals:

William wants to row well and enjoy his time on the water. He wants to be able to have a hobby outside of work and school to help him de-stress. He enjoys coaching, and wants to help others improve their rowing skills. He also would like to stay physically fit through rowing. William enjoys the camaraderie of being part of a team, whether coaching or as a teammate himself.

Feb 24

Engaging Audiences

In an age of increasing technology-use, public history projects absolutely need to utilize a digital component. Opening up a project to a digital format increases the opportunity for users to access the collections and decide how they want to interact with the history. Some projects allow users to be more interactive, while others simply allow for gallery viewing.

Projects that look to include a lot of public input must gain the trust of the public. Individuals must feel that their opinions and their time are valuable. Several projects exist that look for user experiences, including personal stories, photographs, and videos. For example, the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank asked people living and working in the Gulf Coast during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita to share their personal experiences and histories. This included asking for their pictures, videos, audio, and written stories. The HDMB allowed users to offer their information privately, so that their stories may only be shared with researchers. The HDMB also allowed users to share their stories publicly, so others may learn from them and interact with those stories and images. Baltimore Uprising followed a very similar format, asking individuals who lived and worked in Baltimore during the uprisings to share their images, videos, and stories. These projects are not only seeking to preserve the history, but also to allow communities to come together and interact with one another in a digital space.

Another way to include the public in ownership of digital public history is the projects that ask for crowd-sourced information on tagging, commenting, transcribing, etc., of digitized collections. Flickr Commons and Citizen Archivist exemplify the major institutions of the world looking for the general public to help fill in some of the overwhelming metadata. These types of projects are much more broad in scope than HDMB and Baltimore Uprising, largely due to the large amount of different collections. HDMB and Baltimore Uprising are very focused projects on specific audiences.

A lesson to be learned from all of the digital public history projects is to always plan more time than you think is necessary. The projects all desired more time. The projects also suggested sticking to a common metadata standard, such as Dublin Core. Contributions interfaces should be simple to use and efficient, otherwise users will get frustrated and decide not to contribute or come back. Offering multiple options to users, including anonymity and public versus private submissions allows the users to feel much more comfortable in sharing their stories. Sharing the ownership with the users is key to getting them to participating. Also, projects need to be prepared that not everybody has technological access. In those cases, be prepared to have project members working in the physical world, collecting stories and interviews.

Potentially, for my project, Omeka can serve to have my target audience interact with the past. Using comment features would allow a forum to be created, of former and present rowers, as well as those interested in the history of rowing. They will be able to comment on artifacts and share their own personal stories. Currently, I have images from the Olympic men’s 8+ from 1936, which can start the conversation about this tremendously talented team. I have started adding some information on a few of the men involved in this 8+. I plan to expand more on their individual stories as this project progresses. Hopefully, my target audience will see a bit of themselves in each of the stories of these men, and then feel compelled to add their own stories and thoughts. There is an image I have of one of the men’s 8+’s as it is being built in George Pocock’s shop, which is enticing for current and former rowers. It demonstrates how much and how little rowing shells have changed over the last eighty years. I plan to continue adding stories and images for rowers to interact with and contribute.

Feb 11

Audience, Dialogue, and Co-Creation

As historians, I’d like to say that the whole reason that projects are created is so that they can be shared with others.  I’m more realistic in saying that they are partially selfish creations, partially for the audiences.  Historians don’t create projects in which they don’t have a strong interest.  That’s just the initial stage, though.  Once a project idea is hatched, the next step is figuring out who would be interested in learning more about the project.  That’s where the audience comes into play.

When a public historian creates an exhibit, they need to have a specific audience in mind.  For example, for my project on the 1936 United States Olympic Men’s 8+, my primary audience is fulfilled by rowers, both past and present.  Rowers all have a common struggle that they’ve lived through: 2000 meters of pure, unadulterated hell.  No breaks, no timeouts, no substitutions, just 2000 meters of non-stop sprinting to the finish line.  Every rower knows what it feels like to sit at a start line and sense the combination of nerves and excitement, much like a race horse at the gate of a race.  I want to bring the rowing community together to learn more about that Olympic Men’s 8+, but also to share their stories.  I want to create a dialogue between rowers and the project, which will ultimately help strengthen the project.  In preparing for the project, doing user research is key, and in interviewing rowers, I’ve found that the same themes are there, but the details and the memories are different.  I want to merge the history with the heritage of rowing.  Not only were these men rowers, but they were witnesses to history: the Great Depression, the rise of Hitler in Germany, not to mention their own personal histories.  I want to bring the personal sense of rowing together with the history these men experienced.  As my project progresses, I’ll keep working with my target audience, so I can keep judging their engagement and their feelings of “author-ship” in the project.

Feb 10

User Research Findings

Rowing is one of the oldest sports in America. The pinnacle of rowing achievement is the Olympics. The 1936 United States Olympic men’s 8 (type of rowing shell) overcame all odds as a collegiate team and went on to win gold at the Olympics in Berlin. These young men fought tooth and nail for the chance to compete, and that led them to winning. This project would be a commemorative multi-platform campaign for the 80th anniversary of the 1936 Olympics, including an interactive map, showing where they trained, how they traveled, and where they competed; a forum for connecting the past struggle with current rowing struggles; and information on the men themselves that contributed to this historic event.

In doing my user research for my project, I have discovered the deep love rowers have for the sport of rowing.  Rowers love sharing their stories about their races, teammates, and their coaches.  There is a common thread of camaraderie in the struggles rowers have universally gone through, but differences in every story and rower.  For my project, this makes me want to shape the forum of discussion even more so that rowers are able to share their stories with one another, whether they are 90 or 15.  Even if a rower hasn’t touched an oar in years, the love and peace the sport brings them is still great.  I will still focus on the 80th anniversary of the U.S. Olympic Men’s 8+ from Berlin, but I also want individuals to contribute their stories to the overall discussion on rowing and how it brings people together.  I plan to continue getting user feedback on their experiences and what they would be interested in seeing out of the project.

Feb 04

The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden

The exhibition “The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden” permanently resides at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. It also has a digital exhibition located on their website.

Physical Site: “The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden”

The physical presence of the exhibition is enormous. The exhibit occupies one third of the third floor of the museum. A portion of the exhibition covers the First Ladies and their dresses. The rest of the exhibition examines the role of the president, during and after the presidency. The argument the exhibit conveys is that the presidency is more encompassing and subject to the desires of the people than the public originally realized. The physical design demonstrates the grandeur of the office, while also conveying the many roles the president fulfills. The seven rooms of the exhibit are all laid out to convey different aspects of the presidency for the public. The exhibit was well laid out and simple to navigate. The lay out did not force a single flow of traffic, but, instead, allowed the user to move from room to room easily, along your own choosing.

IMG_9366The exhibit started with the president as the myth and figurehead, and then moved into the checks on the president’s power. Within the first section, demonstrating the grandeur of the office, the colors were blue and yellow, much like the Oval Office. Then, you move into the second section, which demonstrated the figurehead portion of the presidency, which was very red, white, and blue, and strongly demonstrated the power of the office through the different categories and artifacts used (“Commander in Chief,” “Party Leader,” “Chief Executive,” “Manager of the Economy,” “National Leader,” “Chief Diplomat,” and “Ceremonial Head of State”). Once you moved through the president as the figurehead and myth, the president became a man again, demonstrating his life in the White House with his family. After that, you move through the president as a mortal, and handling death in the White House. Within that section, the lighting became very dark, and the mood was conveyed that the nation felt such mourning after the losses of their beloved presidents. Once you’ve moved through the mourning phase, you can see the presidency in a Hollywood view, and then see the president after the White House. These sections are come back to the yellow and blue colors.

The audience this exhibit caters to includes the young and old, and everyone in between. The Smithsonian Institution created their exhibit with the broadest spectrum of visitor possible, making it simple for children and foreigners alike to understand. The actual visitors seen on a Sunday afternoon in January included young children, parents, grandparents, some out-of-town visitors who spoke German and Russian, as well as the average American tourist.

IMG_9370
The primary items used to communicate the idea of the gloriously burdensome presidency include personal artifacts of the former presidents (clothing, instruments, toys, etc.), campaign propaganda, political cartoons, and souvenirs related to the presidents. The presidential artifacts were key to creating the idea of the presidents as men, and not just the myths of the presidency. The placards around the artifacts explained the artifacts and what they meant to the presidents, but also contextualized the history of the periods for anybody unfamiliar with it. For example, people younger than 20 years old or people visiting from out of the country might not know that former President Bill Clinton loved to play the saxophone, but that was described for visitors next to one of his saxophones. The exhibits also used pictures, videos, and interactive sections to draw the visitors into the history.

IMG_9369
The interactive elements of the physical exhibit include videos and some interactive screens. In the section of the president’s power, there was an interactive podium that allowed the user to “be the president” and recite a presidential speech, as well as allowed them to get their picture taken. There was also an interactive touchscreen with questions about the office of the presidency, which could all be answered within that room. There were several video screens throughout the exhibit, with one per room. The videos furthered the information explained in the exhibit room. In the room on the president’s private life in the White House, the video described the lives of the children and families of the presidents during their time in the White House. Many of the videos were produced and/or sponsored by The History Channel, which demonstrated a partnership between the museum and network to convey the presidential history. In the Hollywood section of the exhibit, the video went through the Hollywood versions of the president as compared with the popular images of the presidency since the invention of film. The final section on the life after the presidency was very limited on artifacts, but did have a video section describing the life after the presidency for recent presidents.

IMG_9376

While the physical exhibit was highly effective and created beautifully, I would change certain aspects. As powerful as the grandeur of the first several rooms of the exhibit were, the exhibit really petered out by the time you got to the life after the presidency. The lack of artifacts combined with a simple video made the life after the presidency seem not very important. In a time where Americans are living longer and longer, especially our presidents, it is important to view what they have done and continue to do. In recent days, Jimmy Carter continued volunteering his time building houses and teaching Sunday school while battling cancer. Bill Clinton has been on the campaign trail again for his wife, Hillary as she makes another bid to become the first female president. These are men that aren’t just sitting on a plantation overlooking the Potomac anymore. They are continuing to be contributing members of society long after their presidencies have ended. That’s important to acknowledge. A way to acknowledge it might be including a social media section or a “live” history section, where there is a stream of their social media feeds or even their public appearances in the past month to six months (on late night TV, their speeches, etc.). As technology continues to evolve, so does the “office” of former president.

Digital Site: “The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden” http://americanhistory.si.edu/presidency/home.html

The digital exhibition carries the same name as the physical one. The argument of the presidency being more encompassing definitely carries through to the website. The design of the site is a little dated, but it is useable and conveys the message.

The primary audience for this work is still broad, much like the physical exhibit. The website is catered to the average user, with minimal knowledge about the presidents as men and not just the figurehead of the United States. The website is well-catered toward students and teachers, allowing for easy movement between topics, a large amount of accurate information, as well as activities, resources, and materials for teachers to use in their classrooms. It allows the artifacts and the history to be shared with a much larger group of people that are simply unable to attend the physical exhibit. Users can easily bounce around through the site without having to follow a single straight thread.

The website gives biographies of each president, encompassed within a larger framework of the history of the major events of the United States. This was not available in the physical exhibit, probably due to the sheer amount of information and space that would’ve required. Images and artifacts that could not be included in the physical exhibit due to space or curator choosing can be viewed on the website, along with interesting facts and information about the presidents and presidency. There are interactive games, further resources, and teacher materials available on the site, which cannot be conveyed in the physical site. These interactive sections are highly enjoyable and teach the user more about the presidents. There is a game where the user can match information about the families of the presidents to the person it was about. Another section allows the user to read letters children have written to the presidents over the years. The user is also able to create your own presidential seal. Users can also play with the different roles of the president. The user is able to take away more of the idea of the president as a man through these interactive activities, as well as get little tidbits of information about the office itself. Interacting with the site’s creators is not found on this site.

The digital experience could be more effective if it was updated to a more modern web design. Otherwise, it moves very well and easily for the users. The site was created by iXL America Online, and MSN, with the help of the Smithsonian Institution and History Channel, along with donors.

Both the physical and digital exhibits demonstrate that the office of the presidency, while grand and burdensome, still houses a man who must embody the tenets of the office while still remaining true to his family and the people. The exhibits truly show the Glorious Burden of the presidency.

Jan 27

Evolution of Digital Public History

Digital Public History has evolved quite a bit over its history, starting in the 1990s with the advent of the Internet and moving through today with the rampant use of the Internet for, seemingly, every facet of life.  It began as simple websites, demonstrating text and some images of public history projects, but not allowing for much interactivity with the user.  As website design has evolved, so has the presentation of various projects.  They became much more flattering to look at and move through.  The evolution of the digital public history sites has also included the evolution of public history itself, which has moved into a much more collaborative field.  These digital history projects are not only the brainchildren of one institution or group of people, but now they are collaborations between multiple institutions.  They are also the combination of in-person exhibits and digital exhibits.  Some projects even are branching out to include the help of the everyday, general public to transcribe digitized documents for public consumption.  This further enforces the idea of every person can become an historian in their own right, and it is the job of the public historians to guide and help the public understand what they are learning from the artifacts.

At first, digital public history was simply conveying the information that was digitized for the public.  The sites were simpler, with less interactivity.  They slowly changed to include more interactivity with the public, as well as more interaction between institutions and public historians to present the information.  Today, they are representative of public and private institutions that collaborate on projects that are both in-person and online.  These projects allow for the public to be highly involved in the stories that are being crafted and presented to the public.  Digital public history will continue to evolve as technology continues to evolve, and it will be interesting to watch the collaboration between “trained” historians and the general public continue.

Quality digital public history work is demonstrated by solid resources, solid historiography, and the backing of legitimate institutions.  I wouldn’t trust a project that claims to have Holocaust resources but tries to present a narrative on the American Revolutionary War.  The correlation between the artifacts and the institution must be present.  The narrative must also not be too overtly biased, not allowing the public to come to their own opinions of the artifacts and the history being told.  Another good sign is the project linking to further resources, so that the readers can choose to continue their research, if they so please.  Including a section for educators, on how they can use the projects in assignments helps to further bring more people into the site and view the information.

Promising new directions in the field of digital public history include the collaborations between institutions, collaborations between historians and the general public, and further examples of in-person and digital exhibits.  As technology keeps changing, so does the field of digital public history.  Technology constantly adds more interactivity between users and the technology, and digital public history is working to join that.  That can be seen in projects that have applications for smart phones, which allow users to access a project in real-time, as they are accessing the real-life version.  That can also be seen in the projects that ask the public to help transcribe documents.  The field of public history is opening up from simply the academics of the past who shut themselves up in academia, and it is moving toward the idea that every man can become an historian, and it is the job of the public historians to help the public understand what they are seeing.

Jan 22

“Whose Public? Whose History?”

Ronald Grele begged the questions “Whose Public? Whose History” What is the Goal of a Public Historian?” in 1981 and the questions are still struggling to be answered today.

Academics, historians, analysts, and technicians alike all vary in their definitions of what encompasses public history and when it began as a field.  Some argue that public history existed long before the National Council on Public History (NCPH) with historical organizations and museums, while others argue that it was a new and emerging field in the 1970s, when the concept of “public history” was being thrown around in academia. An ambiguity in the term “public history” also exists, with individuals not even being sure that they practice within that field themselves. In John Dichtl’s and Robert B. Townsend’s 2008 Survey of Public History Professionals, many found the term too confining, and they felt that they lacked the qualifications to be considered an historian, saying they were not traditionally-trained as such. Dichtl and Townsend chose to define who public historians were by those “who either defined themselves as public historians or were employed in a historical activity outside of academia.”[1] Dichtl and Townsend also examined where public historians were employed: museums; colleges and universities; local, state, and federal government; historical organizations; nonprofits; consulting firms; and even those self-employed or semi-retired. From this survey’s perspective, public historians are those who work within the field of history and disseminating it to the public. In order to do this, public historians must work with one another.

Collaboration has become a repetitive theme in discussions about public history. Working with multiple groups of people within the field of history and the humanities: librarians, archivists, technicians, analysts, historians, curators, etc. In order to help shape the public’s understanding of history and their impact on it, public historians must collaborate with one another under the big umbrella of public history. Denise Meringolo wrote, in “Prologue” and “Conclusion” to Museums, Monuments, and National Parks: Toward a New Genealogy of Public History, how the field of public history has three major points in its collaborative efforts. First, acknowledging that the field is highly collaborative in and of itself. Second, authority of public history is not merely limited to historians themselves. It is shared with audiences and the historians’ employers, but also with colleagues of different disciplines. This shows where the umbrella definition works best. Public historians work so much with one another and with the public, but they must also collaborate with other disciplines in order to make the history truly encompassing. Third, within the collaboration of public history, there is a divide over emphasis on the “public” or the “history.” This debate has been around since the inception of the field. Some people claim they do not work with the public directly; therefore they are more on the history side of things. Others work more with the public, but less in the nitty gritty details of history. The question needs to be begged, however, does it really matter which side of the debate you land on, when it all can work together and make one big picture?

Over time, the definition of “public” has come into question. It began as simply a term to describe academic peers, undergraduates, graduate students, and other students of history. It has evolved to include anybody with a remote interest in history, thanks to the widespread inclusion of history on a mainstream level. Turn on television at any given time and there are multiple History Channels, as well as historical fiction television programs (The Tudors, The Borgias, America: The Story of Us, etc.). Obviously, there has been a demand for programs and channels of that nature, which points to the idea that not just traditionally-trained historians are watching and paying attention. The definition of public has expanded to include anybody with a remote interest in any type of history. Ronald Grele pushed this point even further in his article “Whose Public? Whose History? What Is the Goal of a Public Historian?” from 1981. Grele noted the history of public history, and how it has grown since its inception, while also continuing to evolve.

In addition, what we know about public historical activities as they now exist points to a similar correctness in Carl Becker’s view that every man can become his own historian; that relatively ordinary people can seek and find knowledge of the world they have made or that was made for them, and that since history always has a social purpose-explicitly or implicitly-such knowledge shapes the way the present is viewed. Thus the task of the public historian, broadly defined, should be to help members of the public do their own history and to aid them in understanding their role in shaping and interpreting events. Sometimes this merely means helping to bring to the front the information, understanding, and consciousness that is already there. More often it means a much more painstaking process of confronting old interpretations, removing layer upon layer of ideology and obfuscation, and countering the effects of spectacularized media-made instant history.[2]

Grele argued that everybody can be an historian, and it is the job of the (trained) public historians to help guide the general public in honing that knowledge and understanding.

 

Footnotes:

[1] John Dichtl and Robert B. Townsend, “A Picture of Public History: Preliminary Results of the 2008 Survey of Public History Professionals,” Perspectives on History (September 2009), accessed January 20, 2016, http://www.historians.org/publications-and-directories/perspectives-on-history/september-2009/a-picture-of-public-history.

[2] Ronald Grele, “Whose Public? Whose History? What Is the Goal of a Public Historian?” The Public Historian 3, no. 1 (Winter 1981): 47-8, accessed January 22, 2016, http://www.jstor.org/stable/3377160.

 

Sources:

Dichtl, John and Robert B. Townsend. “A Picture of Public History: Preliminary Results of the 2008 Survey of Public HistoryProfessionals.” Perspectives on History (September 2009). Accessed January 20, 2016. http://www.historians.org/publications-and-directories/perspectives-on-history/september-2009/a-picture-of-public-history.

Howe, Barbara J. “Reflections on an Idea: NCPH’s First Decade.” The Public Historian 11, no. 3 (1989): 69-85. Accessed January 21, 2016. http://ncph.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/NCPHsFirstDecade.pdf.

Grele, Ronald J. “Whose Public? Whose History? What Is the Goal of a Public Historian?” The Public Historian 3, no. 1 (Winter 1981): 40-48. Accessed January 22, 2016. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3377160.

Karamanski, Ted. “Reflections on the founding of NCPH.” Public History Commons, February 13, 2015. Accessed January 21, 2016. http://publichistorycommons.org/reflections-on-the-founding-of-ncph/.

Meringolo, Denise. “Prologue” and “Conclusion” to Museums, Monuments, and National Parks: Toward a New Genealogy of Public History. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2012.

Jan 20

Digital Public History Introduction

So here’s a little bit of information about me.  I have my Bachelors in Arts in History from Old Dominion University.  I have my Masters in Arts in History, Applied, from George Mason University.  I am currently in the graduate certificate program for Digital Public Humanities at George Mason University.  My concentration in History has been focused on American history, specifically pre-, during-, and post- Civil War history.

My background in Digital Humanities is limited.  This is my second semester in the program, so I feel like I’m just starting to get my feet under me, so to speak.  I’ve been highly interested in digital public history for several years now, when the idea took hold of me that the past, present, and future can be merged thanks to technology.  Technology helps make the history so much more accessible than just the individual artifact or document was in its standard form.  For example, when a letter from the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers gets transcribed and uploaded online, it instantly becomes accessible throughout the world, not just in the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers archive.  I think bringing history to so many more people through the digital era is amazing and fascinating.  I want to learn more about it and become an active participant in that digitization.

My learning goals for the semester include more applicable skills for handling the digital public history.  I know how to handle the actual artifacts, but how can we make them accessible to the masses, in more than just an archive or museum.  How can technological growth be applied to the public history world?  My goals are to come out of this course with increased knowledge and skills in regards to public history.

css.php