The Historical Marker Database offers
Service-Learning Project opportunities in History, Photography, Research,
Mapping and Computer Skills. The online database at www.hmdb.org is designed for automatic uploading of photographs,
text, and location information. An Editor reviews all entries before
the submission is published.
By Karen Key, September 17, 2006
|Emigrant Gap Marker|
The project. Scour your town and
countryside for historical markers. When you find one, take pictures
and write down location information following the guidelines. Back home or at the library, upload photos
and information into the database. Learn from each submission by seeing
what the Editor does with your information to create the final published
marker entry. Print out the published entry, which credits your name
and town, to create a log of your accomplishments.
The Editor reports, “it has been my experience that as each
correspondent submits additional entries, they get better and better
until they reach the point where I can publish the entry with
little or no modification”.
Note: Historical markers are not just
the familiar roadside markers, but any permanent outdoor marker that
states one or more facts other than names and dates.
By J. J. Prats, August 13, 2005
|Burke Station Marker|
- Photography skills: Exposure
settings and framing, and perhaps digital cropping and adjusting, to
create a clear, visually pleasing photograph. Solve for shadows falling
on subject or sun backlighting or inappropriate background. (You can't ask the marker to move to a better
spot! You have to work with what you have or come back another time.)
- Historical skills: Read the
information on the marker to see what other photographs would illustrate
the history told on the marker
- Mapping skills: Describe where
the marker is located in relation to streets, route numbers, and other
landmarks; and provide town, county, and zip code location. Learn latitude
and longitude notation and ways to obtain them either from GPS devices
or by looking up on a map.
- Research, History: Research the history told
on the marker, and perhaps even the history of the marker itself if
it is old. Find online information that expands on what the marker says
and add links to your database entry. Visit your library or historical society
to dig up more facts to add to your entry.
- Interpretation: Optionally when necessary,
clarify what the marker is saying in your own words in the database
entry. Some old markers assume the reader knows things that may
not be common knowledge any more. Explain. If you did not know the significance of a name or phrase before you researched it, then someone else may not know it either.
- Interact with the Editor who
will work with you to publish the most factual, readable, and well-formatted
Benefit to others. Create a permanent
online record of local history for the benefit of researchers and enthusiasts
located anywhere in the world.
And it’s fun!
Questions? Send a note to the editor.