Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Big Week in the Messiah College History Department

It's been an exciting week in the Messiah College History Department.  The sight and sound of students cramming their heads with historical knowledge and writing research papers is palpable. Exam week is almost over and faculty and students will get a much deserved Christmas Break.

But in addition to the twice-yearly exam-fest, there are other things to report.

Those who read this blog know that the Messiah History Department was featured prominently in an American Scholar essay on the way history departments are training students to do research and develop the "habits of mind" necessary to live successful and meaningful lives.

And then today, David Pettegrew and his Digital Harrisburg team have released an interactive digital map of the city of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in 1900.  Here is a taste of David's post from our blog "History on the Bridge":

The Digital Harrisburg working group is pleased to announce a beta version of an interactive map of Harrisburg in 1900/1901 hosted at ArcGIS Online. This map and the data it contains was developed as a collaboration between faculty and students at Messiah College and Harrisburg University of Science and Technology. The Historical Society of Dauphin County generously provided JPEG scans of the entire1901 Harrisburg Title Company Atlas (the layer visible as the historical map of the city) and Ancestry.com provided access to the United States census data records for 1900. Working from the census data, Messiah College students created a complete database of the population in 1900, while GIS students from Messiah and Harrisburg University created building polygons and individual census record points in GIS mapped to the level of individual properties.

Read the entire post here or check out the entire Digital Harrisburg site.

Not only our we contributing to the history of a nearby city, but our students are getting wonderful opportunities to gain skills in digital history.