Thoughts on Public History Projects

This week, we were tasked with examining public history websites, and due to my previous experiences with them, I chose to examine the websites for the Regional Initiative for Collecting the History, Experiences, and Stories of Central Florida (RICHES) and the University of Central Florida’s Public History Center.

 The RICHES website is a mix of traditional public history projects and digital ones. One of the newest projects that RICHES has added is the Mosaic Interface, which was created in conjunction with Omeka to house the collections. The goal of this project was to create a website that has searchable information about Central Florida using the photographs, primary documents, and oral histories that were gained from work done by RICHES.  The Mosaic Interface could be a bit more user-friendly in the way that its interface and instructions, but it gets the job done.

On the other hand, the other website is for a museum that is a partnership between the University of Central Florida and the Seminole County School system. The Public History Center is a museum that specializes in local history and teaching fourth grade students how to think like historians—they are deemed “history detectives” on their entry to the museum. The website is very clean and easy to use, with information regarding exhibits, volunteering, and what constitutes public history for those that are new to the concept. This museum benefits in that it is partnered with the public history program at UCF, so it has to be self aware of its position in the field. 

I chose these two websites because I have personal experience with them, as I have mentioned before. I worked with RICHES and worked for the Public History Center. These projects, I think, are intriguing ventures into presenting Public History (and Digital Public History). They do have their flaws (namely funding, story of our lives!), but overall, I think they are effective.

What are your thoughts on these?


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