course projects and syllabi
The story of Indian Removal usually starts with President Andrew Jackson and the Indian Removal Act. It usually ends with the Cherokee Trail of Tears and the removal of other southeastern tribes to Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma) in the 1830s. This story is incomplete. Federal and state authorities placed increasing pressure on Indigenous lands and forced out nations across the East and Midwest. The Wyandot were one of these nations. They tenaciously held onto their treaty lands nestled in Ohio’s Sandusky River Valley until 1843 when 664 tribal members forcibly packed up all the worldly possessions they could carry, walked over 150 miles to Cincinnati, and boarded steamboats bound for Kansas City. This is the story of their removal, and their survival.
Students developed a prototpye of a Virtual Wyandot Removal Trail in collaboration with the Cultural Division of the Wyandotte Nation. Work on this project is on-going.
Over the course of the semester, students in HIST 2064 created posts for our "Public History in the Wild" blog. In addition to learning to reading their environments like a public historian, students practiced writing concisely for a public audience, familiarized themselves with local history, and learned a content management system (in this case, WordPress). Public History in the Wild began through an active syllabus collaboration between myself and Dr. Lindsey Passenger-Wieck. Read more about the project's origins.
The History Harvest model is a student-driven, community-centered archival project. Students in Cincinnati's West End held a History Harvest on October 26, 2019 to document the material culture of a historically African American neighborhood adjacent to downtown Cincinnati. In the 1950s, the community was the target of industrial rezoning and urban renewal, which culminated in the construction of I-75 through their neighborhood, displacing over 25,000 citizens. Visit the archive to explore the archive and the exhibits the students designed.
On Twitter in 2019, Thomas Cauvin (University of Luxembourg) and Wingo dreamed up the InStall History project. Undergraduate students in Wingo's "Introduction to Public History" course used the University of Cincinnati's Archives &s; Rare Books to generate blog posts about local history. They then created promotional flyers for their blog and "installed" them in bathroom stalls all over campus. (See what I did there?)
Expanding the study area from my co-authored book, Homesteading the Plains, students in this course create a communal database of homesteaders from digitized records. In addition to reading some of the most compelling historiographical works, the students get an introduction to data visualization. They conduct both individual and group projects investigating well crafted research questions informed by their visualizations. Our current area of interest is Polk County, Nebraska.
Like the West End Archive above, this course centered around the History Harvest model. In partnership with Rondo Avenue, Inc., the governing body of the Rondo neighborhood, we have held three History Harvests in March 2016, April 2017, and March 2018. The Rondo community is a vibrant, majority African American community in St. Paul, Minnesota that was intentionally bifurcated by the construction of I-94 in the 1960s to create a diaspora of the community. The artifacts and oral histories in the archive represent the stories and items still important to the community members there.
In the Spring 2017 semester, I taught an archives course that again partnered with Rondo Avenue, Inc. to develop a map of the historic businesses in the Rondo neighborhood. Students used our brand new microfilm scanner (Sir Scans-A-Lot, acquired through a generous grant from the Minnesota Historical Society) to mine the business ads from historic newspapers that served the community. With my guidance, students selected their technology (ESRI Storymaps), organized all their ad files, and generated the map. I donated this project to the Ramsey Country Historical Society on behalf of Rondo Avenue, Inc.