Friday, February 26, 2016

History Harvests (Internship Week 7)

So, I have some exciting news….

I FINISHED THE METADATA FOR MY SCRAPBOOK! Isn’t that exciting? I think so! Now that my metadata is finished, I’ll start scanning the pages in my scrapbook next week.  Yay!

Then, along with the exciting news of finishing my metadata, this week I got to learn more about what my final paper will look like for this class. After talking with Dr. French, I learned about some things to begin considering for my paper – more specifically, history harvests, the Digital Public Library of America, and citizen curators. For this week’s blog post, let’s explore the idea of a history harvest.

The history harvest is a new initiative started from the University of Nebraska. The purpose of a history harvest is to “harvest the history,” often from a local community. So, as described by the University of Nebraska, as part of a history harvest “community-members are invited to bring and share their letters, photographs, objects and stories, and participate in a conversation about the significance and meaning of their materials” (Universityof Nebraska). As community members bring their artifacts to the harvest, each item scanned or photographed for the purpose of educational study and historical archiving.

History harvests are neat in the way they promote “family and local histories” by challenging the “traditional elite sources” in the way that history harvests expand the number of sources available to the public (University of Nebraska). History harvests are unique in the way that they are often organic and occur at the grassroots level ( As William Thomas, Patrick Jones, and Andrew Witmer share, history harvests advance “a movement to democratize and open the nation's history by inviting citizens to share digitizations” of their personal items ( By inviting people to bring out their personal artifacts, historians have access to items they might never have access to otherwise.

Thinking about the scrapbooks collection at First Baptist Winter Park, I believe that the church could benefit immensely from a history harvest. While the church has scrapbooks that help tell the history of the church, I have no doubt that there are many church members who have artifacts and more pictures that would help to create a bigger picture of the church’s history. For example, I know a couple in their 60’s who interned at First Baptist Winter Park when they were in college. Knowing that this couple has old pictures and stories to share from their time at the church, I am confident that there are other people in the community who do as well.

To host a history harvest, the church would need to establish a date and time to hold the harvest. After that, the church would need to consider what types of artifacts they wanted to collect. Would they want pictures? Journals? Diaries? Old church t-shirts? The church would need to identify the types of items it wanted the community to bring in. Then, the church would need to consider how they would handle the items collected at the harvest – would they can them? Photograph them? Collect oral histories? Simply take notes on the items? Then, once all this was established, the church would need to get the word out! Just like you have to plant seeds before you collect the harvest, the church would need to spread the word about the harvest so the community would be aware of the event. Finally, once all that is done, its time to harvest the crop!

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