Archive for the ‘News’ Category

RRCHNM Wins Mason Distance Education Award

Monday, November 9th, 2015

The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media received a Distance Education Award for its work conceptualizing and creating a new online course, “Introduction to Digital Humanities.” Steve Nodine, Director of Distance Education, presented the award at the Mason Outstanding Achievement Awards on November 3, 2015.


The RRCHNM team was recognized for working collaboratively to establish “a new model that can inspire all of Mason.” This innovative course includes synchronous online class sessions, synchronous individual meetings between student and instructor, and asynchronous modules. There are no textbooks, video lectures, or multiple-choice quizzes. Content consists of readings, short videos, interactive activities, and a culminating digital project.

“Introduction to Digital Humanities” is the first course in a 15-credit online certificate program in Digital Public Humanities. The team is currently developing two additional certificate with instructors Sharon Leon and Mills Kelly. The certificate includes a 6-credit digital internship with the Smithsonian Institution, the first of its kind at Mason.

Award recipients: Kelly Schrum (Project Director); Stephen Robertson (Course Professor); Jennifer Rosenfeld (Project Manager); James McCartney (Senior Developer); Chris Preperato (Interactive & Multimedia Developer); Joo-Ah Lee (Junior Developer); and Caroline Kelly (Undergraduate OSCAR Research Assistant).

Congratulations all!

Building Histories of the National Mall

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

We are pleased to announce the publication of Building Histories of the National Mall: A Guide to Creating a Digital Public History Project (, a comprehensive guide that details each phase of creating the award-winning website, Histories of the National Mall. The text showcases the voices of project team members, who authored specific sections that demonstrate the range and breadth of the collaboration and cooperation that produced

This guide goes beyond a traditional case study by sharing the project’s rationale; the interpretative approach; the specifics of the design, development, and outreach–including our social media strategy–;  and the research that drove these different stages of development. For example, our decision to build for the mobile web and not a single-use, platform-specific native app was based in research begun by Sharon Leon and Sheila Brennan in 2009 with funding from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation to review and experiment with mobile formats pertinent for art and cultural heritage collections. Additionally, readers will learn how the team’s user testing regiment greatly influenced the final site structure, design, and content of Histories of the National Mall.

For someone eager to begin developing her own version of Histories using Omeka, the technical specifications and code are available now. (more…)

RRCHNM to build software to help researchers organize digital photographs

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

We are pleased to announce funding for a new project to develop a freely licensed and open-source software tool, called Tropy, which will allow archival researchers to collect and organize the digital photographs that they take in their research, associate metadata with those images, and export both photographs and metadata to other platforms. Generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Tropy will be led by Stephen Robertson and Sean Takats over the next two years.

The affordability of powerful digital cameras and the increasing willingness of libraries and archives to allow their use have produced a widespread need for this software. The difficulties of organizing and managing large collections of digital images familiar to us from our own experiences as researchers are well-documented in surveys of humanities research practices, blog posts and comments, and appeals on Twitter. In addressing this need, Tropy represents an extension of RRCHNM’s work building an infrastructure for digital scholarship, joining Zotero, Omeka, and PressForward.

Now under development, Tropy will ultimately let you import photographs, adjust them to ensure they are of adequate quality for your purposes, and attach metadata to those images, using a template. After import, you will also be able to batch-edit the metadata across multiple (more…)

Scholars as Students: Outcomes from Doing Digital History 2014

Monday, September 21st, 2015

During the summer of 2014, Sharon Leon and Sheila Brennan, joined by a team of graduate assistants and expert scholars, oversaw one of the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media’s most recent efforts to offer professional development for mid-career scholars: the Doing Digital History (DoingDH) summer institute.

Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Digital Humanities, the institute offered 23 American Historians an opportunity to undertake a two-week immersion in the theories and methods of digital history. The results of the institute were impressive, with participants increasing their technical skills, their digital literacy, and their comfort with evaluating digital work:


As a follow-up to the face-to-face institute experience, we are now publishing a whitepaper that lays out the pedagogical approach to DoingDH, evaluates the experience, and includes the detailed curriculum employed during the institute: Scholars as Students: Introductory Digital History Training for Mid-Career Historians (PDF).

This work builds upon over a decade of innovation and experimentation with professional development at RRCHNM. Just as our workshop sessions at disciplinary conferences, bootcamp sessions at THATCamp unconferences, and a range of longer training experiences have been designed to offer replicable models, we hope that DoingDH will be a jumping-off point for those (more…)

Library of Congress Selects the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media for K-12 Interactive Development

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

We are proud to announce that the Library of Congress has selected the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (RRCHNM) at George Mason University to develop Eagle Eye Citizen — an engaging, online and mobile-friendly interactive for K-12 students focused on Congress and civic participation.

Working in collaboration with National History Day and educational media designer Big Yellow Taxi, we will develop a project that draws students into careful analysis of Library of Congress resources, including and Chronicling America. The project team will work with the Library’s Teaching with Primary Sources program to develop the project.

“We are delighted to have this opportunity to create interactives for a range of K-12 learning environments with the goal of cultivating and promoting civic education and civic participation in the twenty-first century,” said Kelly Schrum, Director of Educational Projects at RRCHNM and an Associate Professor at George Mason University.

RRCHNM was one of three groups selected out of 33 applications. “We are excited to work with all three of the organizations selected to develop the online interactives and mobile apps,” said Lee Ann Potter, Director of Educational Outreach for the Library of Congress. “The proposals they submitted reflected both creativity and enthusiasm for providing (more…)

10 Years After Katrina, the Enduring Value of the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank

Friday, August 28th, 2015
Home in New Orleans's Lower Ninth Ward

Home in New Orleans’s Lower Ninth Ward

Ten years ago, we knew as historians that we couldn’t assess fully the social, cultural, economic, and political implications of the devastating hurricanes in the summer of 2005. We did know that previous natural disasters had profound consequences. The 1927 Mississippi River Flood, for example, further fueled African American migration to northern industrial cities, and paved the way for federal intervention in southern states during the New Deal. Documenting the reactions and memories of individuals affected by Katrina, and then Rita, along the Gulf Coast, took on an urgency soon after the storms hit.

Michael Mizell-Nelson, the late-public historian from the University of New Orleans, reached out to CHNM’s late-director Roy Rosenzweig to discuss the possibilities of creating a community-sourced digital project to document the aftermath and recovery of Hurricane Katrina. With so many residents relocating, collecting online gave anyone who had been displaced an opportunity to share their reflections and document their stories. This became even more important following Hurricane Rita three weeks later, when some Gulf Coast residents evacuated a second time, some never returning home.

The Center collaborated with the University of New Orleans to form a team that built (more…)

Are You Interested in, Inspired by, or Curious about Digital Humanities?

Monday, August 24th, 2015

Or perhaps a little of all three! To help you figure it out, the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (RRCHNM) is offering Introduction to Digital Humanities, a new online course taught by RRCHNM Director Dr. Stephen Robertson.

The course provides an introduction to the field of digital humanities, and to digital tools for text analysis, mapping, network graphing, and presenting material online. Explore blogs, wikis, and social media and how these platforms have been used for publication, communication and collaboration. The course emphasizes hands-on work, including creating an individual digital project.

This fully online course includes synchronous online meetings and asynchronous modules. A great opportunity for those in museums, libraries, archives, public history, and education to explore new approaches and learn new skills.

Please visit Mason Online to apply and learn more.

Building a Digital Portfolio with Art History Graduate Students

Monday, August 17th, 2015

For two weeks in July, RRCHNM hosted an enthusiastic group of 20 art history graduate students for an intensive digital humanities training institute funded by the Getty Foundation. Students were selected for Building a Digital Portfolio from a competitive pool of international applicants. The cohort of participants represented many sub-fields and were each working at different stages of their academic careers in universities in the United States, Canada, Germany, and the UK.

Small groups work together on a day learning about models and modeling.

Small groups work together on a day learning about models and modeling.

Co-Directors, Sheila Brennan and Sharon Leon, structured the institute to introduce participants to the digital humanities and digital art history communities and the most current digital scholarship, methodologies, and projects. Assigned readings informed each day’s discussions, and tutorials led to hands-on experience with different tools and techniques and opportunities for students to apply these to their own research. Topics covered included metadata basics, collection building, modeling, mapping, data visualization, network graphing, community-sourcing, and digital publishing.

Building a Digital Portfolio 2015 cohort

Participants in Building a Digital Portfolio, July 2015

The institute team included faculty, staff, and graduate student mentors from RRCHNM and Mason’s History and Art History Department.
Mentors Gretchen Burgess, Jannelle Legg, and Spencer Roberts shared the responsibility (more…)

RRCHNM Goes to Europe for WWII Field Study

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

Last month, staff from National History Day and the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media led 18 middle and high school teachers on a two-week field study of WWII in Northern Europe. This trip is part of Understanding Sacrifice, an 18-month program of study, research, and lesson plan development for the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC).


Visiting the ABMC Utah Beach Memorial.

Beginning in London and ending in Amsterdam, the group visited six ABMC WWII cemeteries in England, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. In preparation, each teacher researched the life of an individual buried in one of the ABMC cemeteries. At each site, teachers presented short eulogies to share with their fellow teachers and cemetery visitors. The research led teachers to military records, local newspapers, and sometimes even to contact with family members who shared letters, photographs, and diaries. During the trip, several teachers also met with the Dutch citizens who had “adopted” the grave of their fallen service member.

To provide further context, the group visited museums and historic sites related to military history. For a British perspective on the war, the teachers visited the Imperial War Museum in London, as well as the Churchill War Rooms. (more…)

RRCHNM Receives 2 NEH Grants to Offer Summer Institutes in 2016

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

NEH LogoThe National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded two grants to the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media to fund professional development opportunities next summer.

With this generous support, Sharon Leon and Sheila Brennan will organize and host, “Doing Digital History 2016,” an Institute for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities. Designed for novices, the team will invite applications from mid-career American historians who have limited or no training in using digital methods and tools, and who lack a supportive digital community at their home institutions. After an intensive two-week institute in summer 2016, the 25 participating scholars will leave with the confidence, skills, and abilities to develop digital history scholarship, to evaluate digital projects, and to instruct students in digital methods. This institute is part of a larger effort at RRCHNM to grow the field of practicing digital history and digital art history scholars.

The second award is a Landmarks in American History grant for “Graffiti Houses: The Civil War from the Perspective of Individual Soldiers.” This project, led by Stephen Robertson and Jennifer Rosenfeld, will develop two week-long summer teacher institutes that focus on the Civil War through the lives of soldiers who left their mark in (more…)

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Since 1994, the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University has used digital media and computer technology to democratize history—to incorporate multiple voices, reach diverse audiences, and encourage popular participation in presenting and preserving the past. We sponsor more than two dozen digital history projects and offer free tools and resources for historians. Learn More

Featured Project is the central online location for accessing high-quality resources in K-12 U.S. history education. Explore the highlighted content on our homepage or visit individual sections for additional materials.