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History Harvests began at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2010 as an effort to “democratize and open American history by using digital technologies to share the experiences and artifacts of everyday people and local historical institutions.” In 2012, Dr. Rosalind Beiler of the University of Central Florida worked with Dr. Scot French to find new ways to incorporate digital history within the Public History curriculum. Utilizing Dr. French’s graduate school experience at the University of Virginia under Ed Ayers at the Virginia Center for Digital History, Drs. French and Beiler were able to create a foundation for developing the History Harvests here at UCF. History Harvests were introduced further with a visit from Dr. Douglas Seefeldt (Ball State University), a founding member of History Harvests at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

History Harvests officially launched at the University of Central Florida in 2013.

Since 2013, UCF’s History Department has conducted a total of four History Harvests in the central Florida area with great support from the director of RICHES™, Dr. Connie Lester (Associate Professor of History at the University of Central Florida). Dr. Lester has overseen most of UCF’s recent History Harvest projects. With the help of community partners, UCF’s History Department has completed History Harvests with Parramore, the Oviedo Historical Society, the Sanford Historical Society, and the LGBTQ Community of Orlando.

Currently, the UCF History Department has several more History Harvests planned. One upcoming History Harvest includes working with Dr. Lori Walters of UCF, focusing on collecting the histories of people along Florida’s space coast. This will work in conjunction with Dr. Walter’s work on augmented reality and 3-D scanning of the Glass Bank in Cocoa, Florida.

Principle Investigators
• Dr. Rosalind Beiler
• Dr. Scot French
• Dr. Connie Lester

Student Involvement
• Honors Advanced Documentary Workshop (FIL 3930H/AMH 3930H) | Dr. Robert Cassanello & Dr. Lisa Mills (Fall 2016)
• Digital Tools for Historians (HIS 6165) | Dr. Scot French (Spring 2013)
• Introduction to Public History (HIS 5067) | Dr. Rosalind Beiler (Fall 2012)

History Harvests provide a number of opportunities for UCF students, including the ability to get involved with their local community and they learn valuable skills necessary in the field of Public History. Students learn how to effectively interact with communities in a professional manner. Students must plan and coordinate meetings with community leaders, advertise the event, and run the event. In addition, students also learn archival skills and digitizing methods.

At a History Harvest, everything is collected and digitized on site. Following, everything is archived and stored on RICHES™ Mosaic Interface. Students are greatly involved in the archival and storing process on RICHES™, having to write the metadata for the artifacts in order for them to accessed by the public. Additionally, students also conduct oral histories, which helps develop interview skills and more.

If you would like to get involved in an upcoming History Harvest, please contact Dr. Connie Lester or Dr. Scot French.

62 Total Partnerships, including the following:
• Sanford Historical Society
• Oviedo Historical Society
• The Center: The LGBT Community Center of Central Florida

• National Endowment for the Humanities Common Heritage Grant; 2016

UCF History Harvest in the News
• Kruckemyer, G. “UCF History Students Help Preserve Oviedo’s Past at History Harvest.” UCF News (Orlando, FL), Apr. 24, 2015. preserve-oviedos-past-history-harvest/.

• ———. “UCF’s Public History Center Gathers Artifacts at History Harvest.” UCF News (Orlando, FL), Mar. 8, 2013. artifacts-at-history-harvest/.
Lelis, Ludmilla. “UCF Helps Preserve Sanford’s Treasures: UCF Holds History Harvest in Sanford.” Tribunedigital-Orlandosentinel (Orlando, FL), Mar. 2, 2013. http:// harvest-20130302_1_ucf-prof-history-students-photos.

History Harvest Reference Materials
If you are interested in learning more about History Harvest in general, please consult the reading material below:
• Georgini, Sara. “Spring at the ‘History Harvest.’” The Junto, March 6, 2013. https://

• Lester, Connie. “Harvesting History: Democratizing the Past Through the Digitization of Community History.” Paper presented at the Digital Humanities Conference, Kraków, Poland, July 2016.

• Thomas, III, William G., Patrick D. Jones, and Andrew Witmer. “History Harvests: What Happens When Students Collect and Digitize the People’s History?” Perspectives on History, January 2013. perspectives-on-history/january-2013/history-harvests.