Service-Learning Project Opportunities
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.
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. More Info.
- 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 entry possible.
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.