Introductory Post, HIST 689

Hello there! My name is Stephanie and in the fall I will be a second year master’s candidate in the history department at George Mason University. My background is in museums and public history — I’ve worked at museums big and small, and I’ve worked in various departments (collection, education, exhibits). I’m originally from Texas and moved to Virginia in the Summer of 2021.

My research interests are centered on marginal groups: the history of people with special needs/disabilities, civil rights, and racial violence. My projects so far in the DPH certificate program have been impacted by a course I took my first semester of graduate school titled “Race, Gender, and Lynching.” For the intro to DH course I created an interactive map of lynchings in Central Texas. My final project for the digital public history course was a website that examined the last confirmed lynching in Cameron County, Texas. I feel relatively confident with the working knowledge I have regarding kepler.gl, Omeka, and Timeline JS — the tools I used to create these projects. I also have basic skills when it comes to video and image editing: I have experience with Adobe Premiere Pro, Canva, and other photo editing programs.

For this course, I’m excited to better understand the relationship between education and digital history. Up to this point, neither course in the certificate program has spent much time discussing the role of education in DH. The focus has been on the DH field in general, the technology, example projects, and designing projects¬† with and for the public. Once we’ve created a project that has successfully captured the attention of users — what are the best ways to relay information? I’ll admit that I’m more interested in the informal educational aspects than the formal K-12 perspective. However, I have seen first hand the need among teachers for resources they can utilize to engage their students in the learning of history.

I’ll also confess that I have some questions about basic DH concepts: Is every digital history project considered a digital¬†public history project? Is there an aspect of the digital history field that is focused on the creation of projects specifically for the academy? How do these projects differ from projects that are created specifically for the wider public?

I’m excited to begin this journey and continue to build my knowledge and skills within the greater DH field!

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