219 Project Travels to Canada to Present at the National Council of Public History

May 2, 2013 |

(L) Jennifer Miller, Andrew Mach, and Eliza Newland presenting their poster to the NCPH in Ottawa, Ontario.

Over 75 years ago, President Roosevelt put unemployed Americans to work to uncover the stories and history of American communities. Today, over 75 feet of material that they collected rests in the archives of the West Virginia and Regional History Collection at West Virginia University’s Library, located in Morgantown.

For the last two years, the WVU Public History program has been collaborating with the Traveling 219 Project to uncover many of these archived writings and help bring them to the public through radio stories and newspaper article. This April, three graduate students with WVU’s History department traveled to Ottawa, Ontario to present the stories of US Rt. 219 at the Annual Meeting of the National Council of Public History (NCPH).

They presented a poster entitled “Miles of Memories: Shared Authority and Traveling 219.” Along with photos, history and stories from the Federal Writers’ Project archives, the poster also highlighted Traveling 219 project’s new illustrated map of historic sites along US Rt. 219 in WV, designed by Aaron Williams and Drew Tanner.

“Fellow public historians were excited and engaged by both our work and the larger Traveling 219 project,” says Eliza Newland. “We explained the innovative approach taken by Traveling 219 along with the project’s unique connection to the Federal Writers’ Project.”

Public historians are far from traditional and often hard to identify because they call themselves by other names, like: historical consultants, museum professionals, government historians, archivists, oral historians, cultural resource managers, curators, film and media producers, historical interpreters, historic preservationists, policy advisers, local historians, and community activists.  All share an interest and commitment to making history relevant and useful in the public sphere.

Many, many congratulations to Eliza Newland, Jennifer Miller and Andrew Mach for the chance to bring the stories of US Rt. 219 to Canada!


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