The Center for Public History and Digital Humanities at Cleveland State University has made Cleveland history easily accessible with the launch of Cleveland Historical 2.0. The free mobile app is a combination of archival footage of Cleveland neighborhoods in the 1930s and 1940s as well as a comprehensive oral history.
"Imagine Cleveland as a living museum and we're trying to curate it," says Mark Tebeau, associate professor of history and co-director of the Center for Public History. "We're finding ways in which our own stories help us understand Cleveland better."
The app includes more than 700 interviews as part of the Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection and is a result of the combined effort by teachers, students, historians and community members. The organization has also posted many of the video oral histories on You Tube.
"As far as we know, no one else is using video for oral histories in this way," says Tebeau. "These are really great expert interviews. If you don't record it, you lose their voices."
The project has been recognized by the National Council on Public History as one of the best in the world, and received an honorable mention in the 2011 Outstanding Public History Project awards.
Tebeau has received requests worldwide to create similar apps in other cities. He is helping Spokane with a similar project through Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Washington. Locally, he is currently working with the Detroit Shoreway and Gordon Square Arts District to build their walking tours into the app for Gordon Square Arts Day on June 11, as well as Cleveland Heights Historical Society and the Downtown Cleveland Alliance.
Source: Mark Tebeau
Writer: Karin Connelly