NEH awards funding for “Making the History of 1989: Sources and Narratives on the Fall of Communism”

The Center for History and New Media and the Department of History and Art History at George Mason University are excited to announce that we have received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to create a website on the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe in 1989.

The project–Making the History of 1989–will have three main features: a database of 300 primary sources (text, images, audio, video) on the events of 1989; multimedia interviews with four historians make visible the strategies scholars use when working with primary sources and interpreting the past; six teaching modules and ten teaching case studies provide historical context, tools, and strategies for teaching the history of 1989 with primary sources.

When it is completed in early 2009, the project will debut at a meeting at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. In addition to the Wilson Center, the growing list of partners in the project includes the National Security Archive and the Cold War International History Project (Washington, D.C.), the Wende Museum (Los Angeles), and the Research Network 1989 (Berlin).

Hurricane Digital Memory Bank Collects 5,000 Objects

Since its launch in November 2005, the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank has collected over 5000 digital objects from institutional partners, such as the Louisiana State Museum and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, and from hundreds of individual contributors.

The Hurricane Digital Memory Bank uses electronic media to collect, preserve, and present the stories and digital record of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. George Mason University’s Center for History and New Media and the University of New Orleans, in partnership with the Smithsonian Institutions National Museum of American History and other partners, organized this project.

Generously funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank contributes to the ongoing effort by historians and archivists to preserve the record of these storms by collecting first-hand accounts, on-scene images, blog postings, and podcasts. We hope to foster some positive legacies by allowing the people affected by these storms to tell their stories in their own words, which as part of the historical record will remain accessible to a wide audience for generations to come.

This project builds on prior work by George Mason University’s Center for History and New Media, and other partners such as the Library of Congress and the Red (more…)

Katrina’s Jewish Voices heard in CHNM partner site

To preserve the Jewish experience of Hurricane Katrina, the Jewish Women’s Archive has announced the launch of Katrina’s Jewish Voices, an online collecting project and digital archive. Employing technologies and techniques developed at CHNM and in collaboration with CHNM’s Hurricane Digital Memory Bank, Katrina’s Jewish Voices allows members of the Jewish community in New Orleans and across the country to contribute their stories and photographs. The collection currently stands at nearly 200 images, emails, documents, and other digital objects related to the Jewish experience of Hurricane Katrina and is growing daily.

Since 1995, the Jewish Women’s Archive has worked to uncover, chronicle, and transmit the rich history of American Jewish women.

CHNM announces completion of Women in World History website

CHNM is pleased to announce completion of the Women in World History website, an online curriculum resource center designed to help high school and college world history teachers and their students locate, analyze, and learn from primary sources dealing with women and gender in world history. Resources include more than 200 primary sources; 15 curriculum modules complete with primary sources, introductions, teaching strategies, and lesson plans; 30 scholarly website reviews; 8 guides to analyzing specific kinds of primary sources, such as oral history and religious texts; 9 teaching case studies; and 4 archived discussion forums on teaching about women in world history.

Funded by the National Endowment of the Humanities and private donations, Women in World History integrates three approaches central to current scholarship in world history and the history of women: an emphasis on comparative issues rather than civilizations in isolation; a focus on contacts among different societies; and an attentiveness to “global” forces, such as technology diffusion, migration, or trade routes, that transcend individual societies. Project materials also utilize recent advances in our understanding of how historical learning takes place, including complex interaction with sources, recursive reading, and skills used by historians.

CHNM and National Park Service Open Ellis Island Exhibition

CHNM is pleased to announce the opening of a virtual and physical exhibit on the Russian Gulag. CHNM has teamed with the U.S. National Park Service and the Gulag Museum in Perm, Russia, to provide a companion website for the traveling exhibit Gulag: Soviet Labor Camps and the Struggle for Freedom, now open at Ellis Island. Located at, the website provides a virtual tour of the traveling exhibit, information on related activities in the exhibit’s host cities, curricular materials for secondary school teachers on the history of the Gulag and a place for visitors to respond to the exhibit and share their own stories.

In addition, with major funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Center for History and New Media, the George Mason University Department of History & Art History, and Professor Steven A. Barnes are constructing a new web-only exhibit, Gulag: Many Day, Many Lives. Opening in Fall 2007, this exhibit will immerse viewers in the varied experiences of an array of Gulag prisoners. Through audio, video and visual imagery, Gulag: Many Days, Many Lives will engagingly present, in vignettes and full biographies, a range of prisoners’ lives. Furthermore, in cooperation with the Gulag Museum of (more…)

The CHNM Suspects

walkrun_04_2006_thumb.jpgThe Center for History and New Media participated in the annual Victims’ Rights 5k run/walk held at George Mason University on April 27, 2006. “The CHNM Suspects” included over 20 runners and walkers, all of whom took some time away from their computers to enjoy a beautiful spring day!

“Taking Games Seriously” – Spring 2006 DC Area Technology & Humanities Forum scheduled for May 15

Taking Games Seriously: The Impact of Gaming Technology in the Humanities
Monday, May 15th from 4-6pm, Car Barn 316, 3520 Prospect St. NW, Georgetown University

Please join Michelle Lucey-Roper (Federation for American Scientists) and Jason Rhody (National Endowment for the Humanities) for a discussion moderated by Mark Sample (George Mason University) on gaming and the humanities. Discussion will center on gaming and its implications for education; thinking about ways to exploit aspects of video game technology to create innovative learning spaces; and games as a possible conduit to online archives or museum collections.

Michelle Lucey-Roper is the Learning Technologies Project Manager for the Discover Babylon Project and the Digital Promise Project at the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) in Washington, DC. She has created and managed several technology projects and research initiatives that helped to improve public access to primary source materials. While working towards her doctorate on the interaction of word and image, Lucey-Roper researched and designed curricula for a wide range of subject areas and created new information resources. Before joining FAS, she worked as a librarian, teacher and most recently at the Library of Congress as a research associate. She earned her B.A. at Trinity College, Hartford, CT; her M.A (more…)

Mason Basketball Digital Memory Bank

The Mason Basketball Digital Memory Bank is now live at

With their first trip to the Final Four in school history, Mason is enjoying what is undoubtedly its finest season. The Patriots have won an NCAA Tournament game for the first time, set a school record with 27 wins, and defeated a pair of top-10 teams (Connecticut and North Carolina) for the first time in the history of the University.

The Patriots’ Cinderella story has made George Mason the focus of national attention, with Mason Fever spreading across the country. It is difficult to gauge what result the Patriots’ historic run will have on the University, but its impact will undoubtedly be felt.

As Patriot hoops make history, our historians are helping fans become a part of the story. By posting online their memories and media files of this momentous run to the Final Four, fans around the world can become a part of this important process. Our stories, as a component of this digital archive, will become part of a living history.

This project builds on prior work by George Mason University’s Center for History and New Media, and other partners such as the Library of Congress and the Red Cross, to collect (more…)

Cohen and Rosenzweig on Death of Multiple-Choice Exams

CHNM staffers Dan Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig have published an article in the Feb. 24, 2006 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education on the implications of Cohen’s H-Bot software, and of similar data-mining services and the web in general. “No Computer Left Behind” argues that just as the calculator – an unavoidable modern technology – muscled its way into the mathematics exam room, devices to access and quickly scan the vast store of historical knowledge on the Internet (such as PDAs and smart phones) will inevitably disrupt the testing – and thus instruction – of humanities subjects. As the editors of the Chronicle put it in their headline: “The multiple-choice test is on its deathbed.” This development is to be praised, Cohen and Rosenzweig argue; just as the teaching of mathematics should be about higher principles rather than the rote memorization of multiplication tables, the teaching of subjects like history should be freed by new technologies to focus once again (as it was before a century of multiple-choice exams) on more important principles such as the analysis and synthesis of primary sources. You can read their article in the CHNM History and New Media essays repository.