Brandon Locke (Michigan State University), Jacob Friefeld, and Ashlee Anderson (University of Nebraska, Lincoln)
History Harvest (http://historyharvest.unl.edu) is a collaborative, team-oriented, student-centered and community-based project that contributes to the democratization and accessibility of American history by collecting and sharing the experiences and artifacts of everyday people and local historical institutions in an open web archive. Working with local history organizations, undergraduate students conduct each harvest with the support of graduate students and professors. During the harvest, community members are invited to share their letters, photographs, objects, and stories, and participate in a conversation about the significance and meaning of their materials. Each artifact is digitally captured and then shared in a web-based archive for future use and study. The History Harvest project aims to raise visibility and public conversation about history and its meaning, as well as provide a new foundation of publicly available material for historical study, K-12 instruction, and lifelong learning.
The History Harvest also provides students a unique and often transformative hands-on experience with historical work. As a digital initiative, the project takes advantage of innovative new technologies to engage students in building history, reflecting on historical change, collaborating to create interpretive accounts of the materials they collect and sharing what they find with others.
This presentation focuses on the History Harvest as a pedagogical process that utilizes student interaction with the public to engage with larger historical concepts.