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!

January 8, 2008
by Joanne Riley

Mapping Out a New Methodology to Study History

Placing History, a Book and CD-ROM from ESRI Press, Shows How Geospatial Technology Helps Historians Analyze the Past 

Redlands, CaliforniaDid poor farming practices cause the Dust Bowl in the 1930s? Was yeoman farming in colonial Concord, Massachusetts, environmentally unsound? What could Confederate general Robert E. Lee see at Gettysburg from where he stood? 

Historians and history students can consider these intriguing questions and others using geographic information system (GIS) technology, said Anne Kelly Knowles, editor of Placing History: How Maps, Spatial Data, and GIS Are Changing Historical Scholarship. 


See more: "Directions Magazine: The WorldWide Source for Geospatial Technology:" Press Releases – Directions Magazine.

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.
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