A Look Behind the Scenes of History Unfolded

Hello! My name is Megan and I have been the intern here at History Unfolded for the past year! Over the course of my internship I have reviewed hundreds of phenomenal submissions from citizen historians just like you.  I have also encountered some amazing ways the History Unfolded community has been utilizing this project. I wanted to take the time today to highlight a few of these projects!

Deerfield High School

During the spring 2018 semester, students at Deerfield High School in Illinois under Staci Studnitzer and Niki Antonakos contributed articles to History Unfolded. Inspired by the project, student leaders from the school this spring 2019 semester decided to create a similar project in recognition of the 25th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide. They designed their own website, using the History Unfolded “citizen history” concept as their model. The website even has a similar look and feel, complete with a direct acknowledgement of History Unfolded for inspiring them. Around 100 students from several classes in different departments contributed articles to the site on contemporary news reporting around different events of the Rwandan genocide. The student leaders presented their digital tool on April 8th at their school’s annual Genocide Commemoration Day.

Deerfield High School

University of Wyoming

Another group that has gone above and beyond are the students from Professor Adam Blackler’s University of Wyoming Human Rights and Crimes Against Humanity course. Dr. Blackler’s group is History Unfolded’s first school from Wyoming. They contributed hard-to-access newspaper articles from different towns in the Cowboy State. They were recently featured in the University of Wyoming’s student newspaper!

We are very thankful for all of their submissions, including one Sydne W. found entitled “Japs Will Grow Food on Heart Mountain Project” from The Laramie Republican and Boomerang. This articles examines what life was like for incarcerated Japanese Americans during 1942. Sydne explains “While the reality was thousands of Japanese Americans being forced from their homes into camps, the article calls them “evacuees” being put to work for a good cause”. As community managers, we love to see user comments that analyze the article in more depth, especially articles from newspapers not available online, making them even more valuable for us to receive. Great job Sydne and the rest of the University of Wyoming students!

Tri-Valley High School

Another school group I would like to highlight comes from Tri-Valley High School in Dresden, Ohio. Under the direction of Brad Sims, Tri-Valley High School students have contributed over 135 approved articles to our database since 2016. One article that caught our attention comes from Janessa D. After researching one of her local newspapers, The Zanesville Signal, she found this article entitled “Sweden Offers Jews Haven”. This piece details how, in 1943, Sweden offered Danish Jews a safe haven to evade capture by the Nazis and deportation to killing centers. Not only is this submission from a paper for which we have few submissions, it also provides data for an event module that was added to the project just this past year. Great job Janessa and the rest of the Tri-Valley High School Group!


Arizona State University Histo-News Club

Finally, I would like to share the following quote, which came from DeAnna V., a student from Arizona. She is a part of the Histo-News group, pictured below, at Arizona State University which is made up of both high school and college students led by Norma Owens. This group has been working on the project since the start and have contributed many phenomenal articles, including some from Spanish-language papers!

“It’s important that as a new generation, we work to understand history so that we can recognize when it may be repeating. With that, I hope this article can attribute to our knowledge of the past, and more importantly, the future.”


(A few students pictured above from Norma Owens’ Histo-News club.)

This quote truly encapsulates what History Unfolded is all about, and to have a student so eloquently express this really shows why this is an important project. Thank you for all of your continued support for this project. We quite literally could not do this without you.

How are you interacting with History Unfolded and why is a project like this important? We want to hear from you, so let us know how you are using History Unfolded! Contact us at historyunfolded [at] ushmm [dot] org.