So, we're two weeks into my public history internship program and we are slowing putting together the public face of our project. This past week, we set up the project's blog here. The following post explaining the role the blog will play in the project is as follows:
Welcome to an experiment blog for an experimental class! This blog will detail the adventures of an intrepid group of public history interns as they work on several online and real life public history projects in the Department of History at the University of North Dakota. The goal of this blog is to make our efforts to create an online museum, manage an online complement to a gallery show, digitize analog data, prepare analog data for formal archiving, and create an online companion to a paper article. I have no idea how many of these projects this team will succeed in completing this semester or what realizations and limitations the team will encounter. The primary method of instruction, which this blog will reflect, is hands-on learning and like the best kind of hands on learning experiments, the results are not predetermined, but will depend on the success, energy, and abilities of the participants.
The hope is that this blog will make the process of learning and creating a range of public history experiments transparent to anyone who is interested and attract some positive (and maybe even critical!) attention to our high quality graduate students and their creativity. Above all,however, the idea is to make the process of public history as visible as the products of public history itself. In other words, I want to make sure that the process of producing public history (of all descriptions) is as important to how we think about the past as the product is.
So, stop back to the blog, three times a week to follow the trials and accomplishments of the public history team! And feel free to contribute in the comments line.
It has been interesting to participate in the discussions surrounding the public face of the various projects that we plan to undertake and get a clearer understanding of how different people view the potential of the internet as well as how the technology gaps between someone like me, who spends much of their day online in some way, and students who consume online information, but have little experience producing online content. So the learning curve will be steep at times, but I expect that the results will show how much is possible in a short time.