Department of History

West Chester University

404 Wayne Hall
Phone: 610-436-2201
Fax: 610-436-3069

Digital History Initiatives

Goin' North: Stories from the First Great Migration to Philadelphia

Students in Charles Hardy's HON 452 and Janneken Smucker's HIS 601 collaborated to build a multifaceted website showcasing oral history interviews conducted in the 1980s with aging Philadelphians who experienced the Great Migration firsthand, either as southern newcomers or as witnesses to their arrival. Built in Omeka, with detailed Level 3 oral history indexes created in OHMS, the project uses cutting edge platforms for sharing historical content with the public.

The Purple and Gold Will Always Hold: West Chester University Football

In Fall 2013, students in Professor Janneken Smucker's HIS 480: Digital History collaborated on a blog built in WordPress and an online exhibit celebrating the history of Golden Rams football, built in Omeka utilizing WCU’s Frances Harvey Green Library's Special Collection’s extensive collection on university sports history. The topic proved fitting, given the Golden Rams’ record-breaking season. Note: to access off campus, link here.

Last Stop: West Chester

Students in Professor Janneken Smucker's HIS 480: Digital History started with this question, "Why can't you take the train to West Chester?" Their resulting research explores the rise and fall of the local railroad, using primary sources from the Pennsylvania Railroad, postcards from local businesses and tourist attractions, historic maps, and ephemera including ticket stubs and timetables.

Quad Project: A Students' History of West Chester University

In Fall 2012, students in Professor Janneken Smucker's HIS 480: Digital History, drew on the WCU Frances Harvey Green Library's Special Collection's historic photographs of the campus to explore the people, organizations, events, and buildings that have created the Quad in all its historical incarnations, now preserved on the National Registry of Historic Sites. Appreciation for the spaces and history of the Quad have waxed and waned over the last century. HIS 480 students have now done their part to preserve it digitally.

Bob Dylan in America

Bob Dylan has shaped, been influenced by, and created aspects of popular culture. During WCU's Spring 2013, HIS 365 Dylan Week, with Professor Janneken Smucker, students collaborated to share insights into Dylan's role within American culture.

Soldiers to Scholars

Soldiers to Scholars is an initiative of the Military History Club at West Chester University in Pennsylvania.  The program, orchestrated by students, collects and  preserves the memories of military veterans who have served in America's Armed Service; in both war and peace. By eliciting discussion between veterans and students on campus, this effort encourages candid conversations about reasons for service, military life, wartime experience, transitioning from the Armed Forces to the college campus and veteran's issues.

The 1930s Depression in West Chester

Jim Jones' students in HIS 480 have presented a mixture of digitized source material (including the complete directory to Borough residents in 1932) plus reports on special topics like the the fire companies, diets and movie theaters.