American Social History Project • Center for Media and Learning

December 2003

ASHP/CML Is on the Move!

Santa reading Who Built America? with a pipeWith the start of the new year, the American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning will bid a fond farewell to our TriBeca offices. After more than eight years at 99 Hudson Street, the entire ASHP/CML staff will be united in one complex of offices and facilities on the 7th floor of the CUNY Graduate Center in midtown Manhattan. This move will not only geographically merge our dispersed staff, but will also provide us with direct access to the students and equipment of GC’s New Media Lab, which operates under ASHP/CML’s auspices and will be moving up from the literal depths of the historic B. Altman building to join us on the 7th floor.

So, beginning on January 19th please redirect your ASHP/CML postal mail and compass settings to Center for Media and Learning, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016. Our e-mails will (thankfully) remain the same and watch our website for updated phone numbers and extensions.

Library of Congress Receives 911 Digital Archive

The 911 Digital Archive working groups
The 911 Digital Archive working groups from The Graduate Center, George Mason University and the Library of Congress gathered for this photo op at the celebration. Also shown is Graduate Center President Frances Degen Horowitz and Provost William Kelly, and George Mason University's Dean Daniele Strupa and Library of Congress Director for Public Service Collections Diane Kresh.

The September 11 Digital Archive – a joint endeavor of ASHP/CML and George Mason University’s Center for History and New Media — has partnered with the Library of Congress (LC) to insure the long-term preservation of the Archive’s holdings. The Library’s accessioning of the collection represents the first major digital acquisition in that institution’s history.

On Sept. 10, 2003 the LC formally accepted the collection, which contains more than 135,000 written accounts, e-mails, audio recordings, video clips, photographs, websites, and other materials that document the attacks and their aftermath. To mark the donation, the Library hosted a daylong symposium, “September 11 as History: Collecting Today for Tomorrow,” featuring reports and commentary by leading U.S. historians, librarians, archivists, as well as by Josh Brown, ASHP’s executive director, and Fritz Umbach, the Archive’s co-director. Excerpts from the event were broadcast over C-SPAN during Fall 2003.

Fritz Umbach
911 Digital Archive Project Director Fritz Umbach

The Archive is the largest digital collection of September 11-related materials, serving as the Smithsonian Institution’s designated repository for digital objects related to the attacks. These digital materials offer a wide spectrum of international opinions and perspectives, ranging from recordings of Manhattan residents’ voice mails on the morning of September 11 to digital commentary culled from organizations in the Middle East . The availability of these materials in the Library of Congress will prove invaluable to future historians and researchers.

Teaching American History Grants

In September, ASHP/CML and Region 7 of the New York City Department of Education received funding from the federal Department of Education’s Teaching American History program. This grant, totaling nearly one million dollars, will support Historians and Teachers: A Partnership to Improve Knowledge, Teaching, and Learning in American History, a three-year project with middle and high school social studies teachers in Region 7 (which encompasses Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn). Also involving the Brooklyn Historical Society, Brooklyn Museum of Art, and Educational Development Corporation, Historians and Teachers will hold day-long retreats with historians and a week-long summer institute during which participating teachers will be introduced to the historiography, defining documents, and methods of historical inquiry for four historical periods . Teachers will also work in small groups to create curriculum units that they will test, refine, and ultimately publish in print and online versions for region-wide use.

ASHP’s New Media Classroom teaching-with-technology faculty development program has been selected as a provider for Greencastle Antrim School District’s U.S. Department of Education’s Teaching American History Grant. Located in Greencastle, Pennsylvania, the district’s grant represents a network of over three rural school districts. From 2003-6, the New Media Classroom will conduct professional development institutes, guide curriculum development projects, and provide mentoring to participating teachers. Other providers for the grant are Facing History, and the National Council for History Education.