Notes on Using Archives and Cultural Heritage Creatively In A Classroom

I have researched for a couple of decades on digital media and cultural heritage and there are many gaps in my knowledge of how they are used. How are archives used creatively and for maximum educational effect? While there is a burgeoning field of digital history and virtual heritage projects, where is the evidence they are used effectively in the classroom?

There have been projects on this for at least ten years, ( and there are several Library projects ( but few seem to have interactive online content or show the tools in practice (i.e. the classroom). I am not saying the work has to be digital (for example, see but there are relatively few explicit projects, considering the number of papers and chapters and books ( on digital cultural heritage!

There is EPICS, e-learning platform for digital heritage ( this is what I mean! (NB the English narration starts at 59 seconds). What else is out there?

For something simple but using classical literature and a database to play with, try and search for a classical place, like Acropolis or Rome.

On a tangent: We need to have more case studies on how 3D can be used in a classroom

If you don’t mind downloading a player this is a nice interactive intro to Giza Pyramids, Egypt

Online archive examples (interviews via youtube)

Why do we need to leverage both humanities and digital infrastructure?

For example, the National Endowment for the Humanities-funded English Broadside Ballad Archive (EBBA) project in the University of California at Santa Barbara’s English department and the Digital History Project at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln’s history department have driven the adoption of higher grades of department technology (workstations, servers, backup systems, remote conferencing tools, text-encoding and image handling tools), all of which has created a thriving digital environment (and busy shared physical space) where undergraduate and graduate students work directly on the project as part of their learning in courses. In general, the humanities are now at a point where we cannot settle for the minimal provision of one aging workstation in each faculty office plus a computer with digital projector in each classroom.

Read more:
Inside Higher Ed

“For the humanities, the threat of diminished resources has appeared hand-in-glove with the digital turn. The recent events at the University of Virginia demonstrate just how influential the digital paradigm has become, but also how unevenly applied its pressures can be. The university’s board members seemed to be swayed by the model of massive open online courses (MOOCs) under development at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University, among other institutions, most of the key instances of which have been in the STEM fields. Meanwhile, some board members proposed to eliminate classics and German to save money in the face of the university’s massive structural budget deficit. They apparently did not realize how many students actually take these subjects (a lot) or that the subjects have been required in state codes chartering the university…The other option is for humanities faculty, chairs, and administrators to plan how to integrate the digital humanities systematically through our departments — to infuse departments with digital technologies and practices so as to create models of organically interrelated humanities digital research, teaching, administration and staff work.”

Read more:
Inside Higher Ed

Read more:
Inside Higher Ed

Creative Uses Of Cultural Heritage Archives

Remixing will be a recurrent theme:

“I invented nothing new. I simply assembled the discoveries of other men behind whom were centuries of work … progress happens when all the factors that make for it are ready and then it is inevitable.” — Henry Ford [From the book The Business of America]

“It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.” — attributed to Jean-Luc Godard

In this fascinating talk from TEDxKC, “Steal like an artist,” Austin Kleon also talks about the spirit of remixing and argues that creative people are collectors of ideas. (from


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