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.

March 4, 2013
by Joanne Riley

Brooklyn Visual Heritage Project

Brooklyn Visual Heritage.

The “Tech Info” section of this well-executed project provides helpful details of the platforms, formats and specs used by the three partnering institutions: the Brooklyn Historical Society, Brooklyn Museum and the Brooklyn Public Library. The details are included in the Architecture Document which starts with this common puzzler for collaborating institutions:

One of the unique aspects of Brooklyn Visual Heritage is that it brings non-uniform data into a unified format. All three partner institutions have been working with digital collections for a long time, and already have well-established metadata schemes and digital asset management systems. It would not have been practical or cost effective to change the practices or procedures at each institution. Instead the goal was to display the data on the site in a uniform way.

Great goal – helpful rundown of one way to get there.

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

Students Trace Ancestry Through DNA

Approx. 1,000 students from Chicago, England, Jordan, France, South Africa and China are adding their DNA samples to the National Geographic’s Genographic Project.

""When their results are ready, each student will discover how his or her ancestors journeyed from the cradle of humankind in Africa to populate the world," said Dr. Spencer Wells, a population geneticist and director of the project, which has collected more than 200,000 DNA samples in less than two years."


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