In Fall 2021, students in Dr. Michael J. Kramer’s Honors 112: Reading and Writing Across Forms course at SUNY Brockport developed experimental digital public history projects. Each student documented a topic of interest from campus, community, regional, or state history. They researched the topic to develop a brief digital museum “label” for a photograph or sequence of multimedia documentation. They experimented with digital form using a WordPress website installed on a Reclaim webhosting account (thanks to SUNY Brockport for supporting this digital infrastructure!). Students explored what it means to document the world, how to research its histories both well-known and hidden, and how one might curate their findings effectively through digital layout, clear writing, and an interplay of different kinds of documentation and explanation.

What you find here is not a fully developed, completed project, but rather an entry point, a start, a first take by students, most of them in their first year of university. From histories of the SUNY Brockport campus itself to its sports programs, from local monuments and historical sites to nearby Rochester’s activist history to other dimensions of history in New York State, the projects reveal glimpses of public history and public life as students perceive them. Through combinations of direct observation, representational documentation, historical research, narrative description, analytic writing, digital design, and multimedia curation, the students begin to share the variety and richness of the social world, the built environment, and the lively history present all around us.

The posts have been lightly edited by Dr. Kramer. Students also drew upon the expertise of the librarians at SUNY Brockport’s Drake Memorial Library. Enjoy!