I found the Center for History and New Media very interesting, engaging, and inspiring. Let me explain first why I am writing primarily about the Center for History and New Media. After reading and exploring The Spatial History Project and the work being done on 3D modeling of Washington, D.C. in the “The Beginning of the Road,” I was beginning to be discouraged. These two projects have so many awesome attributes, and they make you think, “oh, wow, how come no one else has looked at it this way yet?” The integration of GIS and other visual-oriented aspects of history is, in my opinion, the best way to engage a large audience in learning about history. But, who has the budget and the resources to make projects like the Spatial History Project happen? Not very many institutions within the State of Idaho do. I believe Idaho State University is the best poised to make it happen since they have a Master’s in History that is partnered with GIS. Other than this, who has the time, the staff, and most importantly, the money to make it happen? History has often been reduced to people working on it in their spare time, and this can be seen particularly in “The Beginning of the Road.” Maybe I am frustrated at this since our Public History Career interviews, and I am trying to come to terms with how much history gets done because people care enough to give their free time over to it, and the larger population expects it to be done for free or very little money. This dynamic is frustrating.
Anyways, back to the Center for History and New Media. It cheered me up to see the varied ways that museums (and by extension other history-related organizations), can use existing technologies to engage their audiences. This is partly exciting because of our mobile project for the class. It shows that there are a multitude of platforms that can be used, and perhaps the best is creating a website that is mobile friendly. I really liked the online archives and exhibits—what a great way to create content that can live on even when the exhibit moves. After this reading I am really excited about Omeka, and plan to bring it into my work as the City Historian. I’m also going to look more into the book Digital History: A Guide to Gathering, Preserving, and Presenting the Past on the Web. I think that it will be extremely helpful in my work.