Sunday, July 22, 2007

Smithsonian-Google Earth Mashup!

The Smithsonian has done something interesting with a current exhibit Encompassing the Globe: Portugal and the World in the 16th and 17th Centuries. Oh they have their usual lavish web exhibit, with concise text and arresting maps and images from the exhibit. You can click and zoom on most of the images to explore them closely. What is new about this exhibit is that the Smithsonian has created a Google Earth file to go along with it. By clicking on this link you will load the file (presuming that you have already installed Google Earth) and can explore Portugal and its overseas empire. It is really an innovative way to bring history to the web.

It is easy to imagine a thousand historical topics that could get this treatment in Google Earth--almost any war, exploration, the travels of an individual (where is the Mark Twain Google Earth file?) As a teacher I am already thinking about how to teach a seminar on say Westward Exploration and have each student pick an explorer and create a Google Earth file, all of which could be brought together at the end of the class.

(Via the Google Earth Blog).

Eastern Washington University Digital Collections

Otis W. Freeman Collection: "Dr. Otis W. Freeman (1889-1964) taught geology and geography at Eastern from 1924 through 1953. Dr. Freeman's photograph collection includes over 500 lantern slides, primarily images of the physical geography of the Pacific Northwest, which he used to illustrate his lectures." Along with the Freeman Collection EWU hosts some other noteworthy digital collections including Communities of the Inland Northwest and Pacific Railroad Survey Prints (worthy of a post in their own right!).

There are more and more excellent small digital collections like those at EWU becoming available as regional colleges and historical societies and even small town museums scan parts of their collections and make them available online. But how is one to find this material? What is needed is some kind of master index of primary source historical material available online. It used to be that if you were looking for online materials you went to the Library of Congress and a few other sites and you were done, but now so much more is available if only you can find it! The only way to organize such a growing and changing body of material would be to use a wiki, perhaps a page on Wikipedia itself.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Northwest History at the Internet Archive

Internet Archive has some excellent history resources, especially in the way of film. A search for Grand Coulee reveals this newsreel report about the opening of the dam. Notice they were still pitching the dam as a benefit for small farmers, which is not at all how it worked out. Also of interest is a 1947 Coronet Instructional Film The Mighty Columbia River. (I attempted to embed these videos as with YouTube but it did not work for some reason.) And check out the wonderfully cheesy Hanford Science Forum described as a "television program sponsored by General Electric Company for telecasting to residents of the Richland, Washington area." In this episode a Hanford biologists assures us that the "mildly radioactive" discharges from Hanford are perfectly harmless.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Oregon History Project

The Oregon History Project is packed with historical goodness. I stumbled across it tonight looking for a good image of the Catholic Ladder (a visual device used by Catholic missionaries to convert the natives) and also found a great image of the combative Protestant Ladder (seen on the left--note the Pope tumbling into hell!). Rather than try and describe all the riches at this site let me just cut and paste the site introduction:

"Click onto Oregon Histories and browse narratives related to Oregon, Portland, Klamath Basin, Lewis and Clark, and Southwestern Oregon history. Go to Historic Viewers and participate in an interactive digitized learning experience that tracks change over time in the Portland landscape, Oregon boundaries, Celilo Falls, and Indian lands. See Oregon Biographies for intriguing stories about some of Oregon’s most significant historical figures. Search through Historical Records to see digitized photographs, artifacts, journal entries, government documents, maps, and a variety of other sources from the Oregon Historical Society Research Library and Collections. Visit the Learning Center for digitized lesson plans, information on how to teach with primary sources, interdisciplinary approaches to primary sources, and interpretive essays. If you already know what you are looking for, go to the Search function and research by keyword, primary source type, theme, era, or region. Finally, when you are done researching, please take a moment to fill out the Feedback form so that the Historical Society can better understand how to fulfill your needs!"

Inland Northwest History on YouTube

Here is a fascinating little video on Expo '74:

The changes that Expo 74 wrought are fascinating, someone should write a book about it. (Just kidding Bill!) The problem with this clip, as is so often the case with information posted on communty websites, is the lack of provenance or identifying information. When was this vide made? When was it aired? By who?

Also of interest is "Nez Perce Resumes Buffalo Hunt," a trailer for Arid Lands "an independent documentary film about the land and people of the Columbia Basin," and this cool documentary about Woody Guthrie when he worked for the Bonneville Power Administration to promote the Columbia River dams.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Washington Territorial Newspapers Online

"The Historical Newspapers in Washington project is part of the Washington State Library's program to make its rare, historical resources more accessible to students, teachers and citizens across the state." The project has 12 early newspapers online, including the Oregonian, the Walla Walla Statesman, and the Spokan Falls Review. The newspapers are fully indexed and searchable. A search for Kamiakin for example brings up more than 40 articles. This is an amazing resource and a wonderful educational tool for middle schoolers to graduate students.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Drumheller Springs

How many Spokanites realize that Drumheller Springs is also the site of Spokane Garry's school? Here is a nice little article from the Spokesman Review on Drumheller Springs. The page on the springs has some more photos. If you live in Spokane you have driven past the site many times--here is a PDF map link to the location.