The semester has come to an end, as has my graduate school experience. Studying how to use new media in public history has been a beneficial way to complete my studies and will definitely change the way I approach projects and opportunities that I hope will arise in my future. With all of the readings and experiences throughout this course, there are a few things that stand out to me.
As a public historian, I see my purpose as engaging as large an audience as possible in using history. The digital world offers many tools that can make the resources of museums, archives, and other institutions available and useable to those who may not be able to visit physical sites. I will also keep in mind how valuable digital projects can be in supplementing traditional education.
Engagement, of course, refers to the ways social media and technology open up ways for audiences to communicate with museums and participate in processes and projects. I also found throughout this semester how helpful it can be for public historians to remain engaged with other historians and institutions to see how they are using media. Looking at how institutions used Twitter and Facebook, and how they designed websites and online exhibits helped me see what works and what doesn’t.
Technology changes so quickly, and as we can see with the Wayback Machine, what we create on the web will likely look outdated in a few years. With the constant changes, it is important to consider how your digital exhibits and projects will be maintained after completion. In planning, you should choose platforms and programs that are likely to be easy to sustain and easy to use for wide audiences.