Sept. 13: Introduction to Digital Public History

We’ll hit the ground running this week as we figure out our new meeting space and explore what is in store for this semester in DPH.

First, some discussion of where digital and public history should meet.


Your first assignment this week is to set up a blog and write your first post and comment on another blog post. Make sure to choose a blog host which has a comments feature. Send me your URL and Twitter username (optional) by next Tuesday.

Have a look through these popular blog hosts for one that suits you.

Questions to consider for your introductory post: What are you most excited or nervous about? What do you want to accomplish? Are there examples of digital or online history projects/exhibits/games etc. that you find particularly interesting or awful?

Building and Engaging Audiences with Digital Media

Being a public historian in the 21st century requires you to engage with many different audiences using a variety of platforms and media. Finding a tone and style that suits your personality and your intended audience is not easy.

In our next class we will discuss theories on how to attract and serve audiences in the classroom, in museums, and online. How should we use digital media? Is it always necessary? What are some common (and potentially disastrous) mistakes we should avoid?

Have a look at these suggestions for working in the Age of the Digital Mess.

An Absolute Unit of a museum Twitter account. 

Consider, too, when campaigns backfire:  #campaignfail

Have a look at some of the debates surrounding engaging youth with technology. How have ideas and methods changed over the past decade?

James Cote, “The Digital Native Debate: An appraisal of pedagogical and generational claims.” Changing Landscapes of Childhood and Youth in Europe, Lynne Chisholm and Vassiliki Deliyanni-Kouimitzi (eds.)(pp. 86–109).Cambridge Scholars Press: Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 2014.

We’ll also debate a new article from The Atlantic discussing how smart phones have changed childhood and allegedly “destroyed a generation.”

Jeffrey Young, “When Computers Leave Classroom, So Does Boredom,” Chronicle of Higher Education, 20 July 2009.

Jason B. Jones, “The Creepy Treehouse Problem”, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 9, 2010.

How has the internet changed how public historians do their work?

We will return to some of these questions next week and when we discuss Material Culture and Digital Preservation.

Getting the public to help decode Civil War telegrams at the Huntington Library.


Everyone is required to try their hand at podcasting. Have a listen to these examples and decide what form your podcast will take. You can use any recording software you life, but you can download the versatile and intuitive program  Audacity  free.

Have a listen to previous efforts from 2015 , 2016. 2017 Part 1 and Part 2, 2019 and 2020.

In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg Directed discussion of a topic with a panel of experts.

BBC History Extra Interviews, Lectures, and History News.

Shakespeare’s Restless World Documentary Style

A very short list of some hits from previous years.

Documentary Style:

Interview Format