CHNM received a $7 million contract from the U.S. Department of Education, one of the largest competitive grants ever won by George Mason University, to develop and maintain a National History Education Clearinghouse over the next five years in collaboration with the History Education group led by Sam Wineburg at Stanford University (SU), the American Historical Association (AHA), and the National History Center (NHC). Centered on K-12 history education, the project will aim to integrate major developments to advance history teaching and learning. The emergence of the Internet has made an unprecedented number of historical documents and resources available to teachers and students alike, while the Department of Education’s Teaching American History (TAH) program has devoted over $700 million to improve history education. Led by Roy Rosenzweig, Kelly Schrum, and Sharon Leon, the Clearinghouse project will consolidate the most informative online history content as well as provide a digital support center for American history teachers at all levels and in all locations. More specifically, the web site will focus on seven features: history education news, history content, teaching materials, best practices, policy and research, professional development and Teaching American History grants. Adding to this web-based resource will be off-line support for teachers, such as an annual two-day conference, a biannual newsletter, an annual report on the state of history education, and workshops around the country.
CHNM is also celebrating its IMLS funding for Omeka, a next-generation web-publishing platform for smaller history museums, historical societies, and historic sites. From the Swahili word meaning “to display” or “to lay out for discussion” Omeka is designed for these groups that they may not have the adequate resources or expertise necessary to create and maintain their own online tools. The free, open-source tool will allow many more museums to mount well-designed, professional-looking, and content-rich web sites without adding to their constrained budgets. It will also provide a standards-based interoperable system to share and use digital content in multiple contexts so that museums can design online exhibitions more efficiently. Beginning in October 2007, CHNM will plan, design, test, evaluate, and disseminate Omeka over four phases while working closely with our major partner, the Minnesota Historical Society (MHS). MHS represents a wide museum network and a broad range of history and heritage institutions of different sizes, audiences, and subject area interests. In addition, we will make Omeka available to other small museums through conference presentations, direct mailings, and the CHNM website.