History Harvest



Thank you for making the inaugural UIS History Harvest a success! See the results, at the online archive and exhibit.
On October 22, 2016, students from Dr. Devin Hunter’s undergraduate Public History class and Dr. Ken Owen’s graduate History and Digital Media class invited members of the public to place themselves in the historical record– to bring and share any and all political memorabilia from the past: letters, photographs, diaries, buttons, bumper stickers, along with their stories. After digitally “harvesting” these materials,  students created an online, free-to-access archive that presents and preserves the artifacts. The goal of this History Harvest was to democratize and widen our understanding of the electoral process. Though elections are celebrated as giving voice to the people, all too often our historical understanding of elections is dominated by campaign managers and political elites.  By collecting information on the historical memories of the local electorate, the UIS History Harvest provided a unique insight into how ordinary citizens in central Illinois have participated in and remembered the democratic process.

The UIS History Harvest is part of a national movement connecting communities and universities through the practice of local history. More information on the national movement can be found here.

Stay tuned for details about the next UIS History Harvest, tentatively scheduled with a new theme for 2018!

The 2016 History Harvest received considerable media attention:
Springfield Journal-Register: “UIS ‘Harvesting’ Political Memorabilia for Website
Springfield Journal-Register: “Lincoln Ax, FDR Letter Brought to UIS History Harvest”
WICS Channel 20: “UIS History Harvest Takes Place