Digital History Meets Public History

Endorsed by the Oral History Association

Saturday, April 17, 2021, 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Type: Panel Discussion

Tags: Digital History; Public History and Memory; Teaching and Pedagogy


This roundtable brings diverse historians employed throughout our profession together for a conversation about how they are using technology to reach the public. Panelists include librarians and digital history specialists, academic faculty, consulting historians, and preservationists working with community organizations and Native American tribes. The panelists share a commonality in that they have each used Clio, a digital platform supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities that is available at no cost. Starting with this experience, they will converse with the audience about the potential of this and other platforms and technology for public outreach and engagement.

Session Participants

Chair and Panelist: David J. Trowbridge, Marshall University
David Trowbridge (Ph.D. Kansas, 2008) is an associate professor in the Department of History and director of African and African American Studies at Marshall University. Trowbridge is the author of A History of the United States, and his work has appeared in leading academic journals such as the Journal of American History and the Journal of African American History. In 2016, the Whiting Foundation named Trowbridge as one of eight publicly engaged scholars in the humanities for his work with Clio, a website and mobile application that connects the public to information about nearby historical and cultural sites.

Panelist: Juilee Decker, Rochester Institute of Technology
Juilee Decker, Ph.D. is an associate professor of museum studies in the college of liberal arts at RIT. Her research and practice seek ways of facilitating dialogues between communities and the objects, spaces, places, and practices that they hold dear. She is editor of Collections: A Journal for Museum and Archives Professionals (SAGE) and the four-volume series Innovative Approaches for Museums (2015, Rowman & Littlefield). Recent publications include her revision of Museums in Motion: An Introduction to the History and Functions of Museums (2017) and the monograph Enid Yandell: Kentucky’s Pioneer Sculptor (2019, University Press of Kentucky, “Topics in Kentucky History” series). Juilee has curated exhibitions focusing on visual arts, material culture, and public history and has served as a consultant to public art projects and programs in the US. Two current projects involve technological applications to exhibit potentialities for authenticity and discoverability. The first involves the creation of a VR avatar in a living history context. The second is a multi-year NEH-funded project focused on processes, workflows, and outcomes multi-spectral imaging for museums, libraries, and archives. Juilee earned her Ph.D. from the joint program in art history and museum studies at Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Panelist: Kelli Johnson, Marshall University
Dr. Kelli Johnson is an Assistant Professor and Librarian II at Marshall University. She is also the Co-Director of the President's Commission on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Marshall. In addition to leading Marshall University reference and instruction departments, she secured a major grant with the West Virginia Humanities Council to conduct oral histories and use digital resources to connect the public to her research on the history of Huntington's African American community.

Panelist: Jason Roe, Kansas City Public Library
Dr. Jason Roe (Ph.D. Kansas, 2011) is a digital history specialist at the Kansas City Public Library and the project director for the Civil War on the Western Border: The Missouri-Kansas Conflict, 1854-1865, recipient of the American Historical Association's Roy Rosenzweig Prize for Innovation in Digital History.

Panelist: Anne Mitchell Whisnant, Duke University
Anne Mitchell Whisnant, (Ph.D., UNC-Chapel Hill) is the director of Duke’s Graduate Liberal Studies (GLS) program. She is also the author of Whisnant is the author or co-author of four studies of the history of national parks. Prior to her current position at Duke, she has served in a variety of positions at both UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke, including work with the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute.