Place-Based Education

Engaging students in their own communities through local history, local culture and the local environment. An initiative of the Massachusetts Studies Project at UMass Boston.

June 24, 2008
by Joanne Riley

A “MySpace” for Local Studies in Massachusetts


Announcing the launch of a new social networking site for “humanities practitioners” in Massachusetts, built on the Ning platform.

The National Endowment for the Humanities has funded this experiment, with additional support from the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston, and Mass. Humanities.

Check out the MAStudies Network at and join up if this collegial group of Commonwealth collaborators suits you!

June 16, 2007
by Joanne Riley

Primary Research Documentary (Local History by High School Students in Beverly, MA)

This documentary introduces, a non-profit website dedicated to promoting local historical research at the high school level. went online in 1999, then funded by a Documentary Heritage Grant from the Massachusetts Historical Records Advisory Board. Originally the website for Project Apprentice to History (PATH), it has grown to include online projects on Public School History, Landscape History, Women’s Suffrage, Nathan Dane, New England Stonewalls, Architecture, Archaeology, African Americans in Antebellum Boston, Puritan Gravestone Studies, and more.

February 15, 2007
by Joanne Riley

Footnote: Web 2.0 site

"FOOTNOTE" is organized around primary source historical documents, many (most?) from the U.S. National Archives.  The site is well-organized, and offers a number of standard, useful Web 2.0 features:

    • View and enlarge documents to discover hidden clues.
    • Print documents to read later or add to your scrapbooks.
    • Save documents to your Footnote Gallery.
    • Search or browse all indexes on Footnote
    • Create your own member page about histories, showcase original source documents, collaborate, or use it as a digital notebook.
    • Share any document you find.
    • Add People, Places, Dates & Text within any document, which then become searchable.
    • Upload any image from your computer that you want to share with others.

The service costs $99 / year; there is no information on the site about educational pricing.  I wrote and asked them about this, and will let you know if/when I hear back.   Visitors to NARA facilities get free access to the site, and supposedly the records will be available for free on NARA’s Web site ( in five years.

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