Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Digital Harrisburg

As some of you may recall, the Messiah College History Department recently revamped its public history concentration to include courses and training in digital history, local history, oral history, public archaeology, and the teaching of history (at all levels to all audiences).  Students pursuing the concentration are required to take courses in subjects such as event planning, public relations writing, museum studies, digital media, business administration, graphic design, or website design.  Whether or not students pursue a career in public history, we believe that this concentration provides them with a host of transferable skills as they enter an ever-changing marketplace.

This semester the department is offering two courses that meet requirements in the public history concentration.  David Pettegrew is teaching a course in digital history.  In this course students are getting training in Zotero, GIS, Omeka (digital exhibits), and social media.  I am teaching a course in Pennsylvania history that provides training in Omeka, local history, and oral history.  Both courses are using local archives extensively.

Part of the department's digital initiative is the creation of a project we are calling Digital Harrisburg. This project is only a few months old, but we are excited about the possibilities.  We have created a website devoted to the history and society of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  The Digital History class is doing archival research and digital exhibits related to Harrisburg's successful City Beautiful Movement.  The students are also linking U.S. census records of Harrisburg in 1900 to contemporary digitized maps.  My class is working on digital exhibits related to archival collections related to the region's cultural, religious, and African-American history.

We hope you will check in periodically with Digital Harrisburg to see what we are up to.  Don't know where to begin?  Check out the blog posts from David Pettegrew's Digital History students.