Digital Project Review: Clara Barton National Historic Site Interactive Experience

Clara Barton National Historic Site Interactive Experience. National Parks Service. No credit/about page exists. Accessed 27 January, 2017.

The Clara Barton National Historic Site Interactive Experience is a resource that allows elementary school students to experience Clara Barton’s home from a computer at school or home. Taking the form of a Flash presentation, the virtual tour allows users to pan their way around each room of the house and click on a few artifacts in order to see, read, and, in some cases, hear more about Barton’s home and life. There is also a section that provides activities (largely reading comprehension and multiple choice) for students to complete.

Screenshot of the interface, this is essentially full-size

Continue reading “Digital Project Review: Clara Barton National Historic Site Interactive Experience”

‘Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder’

A friend told me once that they liked “weird museums.” Since I think I want to open a weird museum someday, I asked her: “Such as?”

“The Museum of Jurassic Technology,” she said.


“You can’t really tell what’s true and what’s not. And they serve tea!”

I looked at the MJT’s website ( and was pretty mystified. There’s something about Noah’s Ark, and some mysterious exhibit titles (“No One May Ever Have the Same Knowledge Again: Letters to Mt. Wilson Observatory
“) but little idea of where the “Jurassic” comes in.

Eventually I found my way to Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder: Pronged Ants, Horned Humans, Mice on Toast, and other Marvels of Jurassic Technology, by Lawrence Weschler. Weschler first published his account of the MJT in Harper’s and that essay forms the first half of this volume, “Inhaling the Spore.” Continue reading “‘Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder’”

Now I Have a Massive Reading List: A Love Letter to Zotero

One of the challenges ahead of me this semester is a lengthy research project. I’m in the process of narrowing down my topic but it will have something to do with historic house museums (HHMs) and the mansions in Fairmount Park.

So on this rainy day, I’ve been sitting at my desk finding my way down rabbit trails of bibliography as I’ve tried to get a handle on the relevant literature on HHMs. I found one fascinating e-book, Andrea Terry’s Family Ties: Living History in Canadian House Museums, and dug through her lengthy bibliography, tracking down articles, essays, and monographs wherever I could. Thanks to the many resources provided by Temple’s Paley Library and the magic of Zotero, I was able to download many of the articles that Terry referred to, as well as many others I found from ever-branching searches. Now to begin picking my way through the mountain of material I’ve amassed.

But before I do that, I want to say a bit about Zotero. Continue reading “Now I Have a Massive Reading List: A Love Letter to Zotero”

Introduction to Digital History

One of the courses I’m taking this semester is HIST 5152: Digital History and having looked over the syllabus and engaged with the first week’s readings, I’m both excited and a little intimidated. There are so many great resources and so many different digital tools, which is really invigorating, but there is also so much I don’t know how to do, which has the impostor syndrome rearing its head.

There are 4 blog entries required for this course, which will join this entry under the “Digital History” tag, as will any other posts I write on digital topics. You can quickly access all of the posts with that tag by clicking “Digital History” up on the top menu. I’ve made a link up there to access all of my blog posts for my “Managing History” class this past fall too.

Here are two examples of digital projects I admire:

Mapping Inequality is a powerful way to look at the legacy of redlining in American cities. It is interesting to see what has changed since 1937 in terms of various Philadelphia neighborhoods’ attractiveness but also to ruminate on the power of these “residential security maps” to shape the neighborhoods for generations to come, even as they described the reality before them.

Trump Syllabus 2.0 is not a flashy, visual resource, but connects users to a variety of resources–published texts, news articles, essays, films, podcasts, and even databases–within the format of a syllabus. The result is simple and yet provides windows into far wider paths of inquiry.


No sooner had I published a year-in-review post at my old blog than I realized I wanted something more permanent, with a less clunky URL. So I made the plunge, and here is I’ve copied my old posts over to here (making some corrections of galling typos as I went through them), including the aforementioned year-in-review, which is a good place to start if you want to explore my recent work.

I hope to write more in the coming year; watch this space.

Things I wrote in 2016

A new year presents an opportunity to take stock of my achievements in school and online over the last year.

In April, I began this blog as I attempted to get back up to academic speed. Book reviews, a piece about a historical marker, and a post explaining my Mennonite background brought me through May before a bit of a hiatus in June and July and scattered posts in August.

September saw a lot of new beginnings. Continue reading “Things I wrote in 2016”