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Public invited to help write history of City of Minneapolis

Historyapolis uses social media, public to write first history of City since 1940

Minnesotans are invited to make history by taking part in the innovative Historyapolis Project which is using Facebook, Twitter, and the public to write the stories of the City of Minneapolis for an upcoming book.

“The citizens of our state are hungry for complex stories that will help them understand how Minneapolis became the wonderful, complex and contradictory place that it is,” said Kirsten Delegard, founder of the Historyapolis Project and scholar-in-residence at Augsburg College. “This project, the first to undertake the City’s history since 1940, will create a central clearinghouse where people can find a full story of our past.”

Delegard said that the decision to use the internet and social media to share and gather information will allow a broad community of people to participate in the project and to develop a serious but accessible historical work that bridges the gap between the academic domain and larger world.

The Historyapolis Project’s inventive approach recently was awarded an $82,000 Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage grant – the first time an academic department of history has received funding from the Arts and Cultural Heritage program for such a project. The grant supports engaging students in the research process and, according to the Minnesota Historical Society, creates a “central hub for the interpretation of Minneapolis history and an innovative model for urban collegiate history departments.”

“The awarding of this grant establishes Augsburg as a center for the study of Minneapolis’ past, one in which the broader public will play a powerful role,” said Michael Lansing, associate professor and chair of the Augsburg History Department. It builds on the Augsburg History Department’s long-term commitment to the public work of history and to expanding its role in the discipline of “public history” – a discipline that comprises the many and diverse ways in which history is applied to real-world issues.

Bringing the Historyapolis Project to Augsburg, Lansing said, extends this commitment into the digital arena, incorporating tools and skills that are increasingly critical for the practice of public history.

“This transformational research project creates an incredible immersion experience for students and is public work that brings the practice of history into the world,” Lansing said.

Background: Join the Historyapolis Project of Augsburg College by:

  • “Liking” and contributing to the project on Facebook
  • Following Historyapolis on Twitter at @historyapolis

Augsburg College is set in a vibrant neighborhood at the heart of the Twin Cities, and offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and nine graduate degrees to nearly 4,000 students of diverse backgrounds. Augsburg College educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders. The Augsburg experience is supported by an engaged community that is committed to intentional diversity in its life and work. An Augsburg education is defined by excellence in the liberal arts and professional studies, guided by the faith and values of the Lutheran church, and shaped by its urban and global settings.

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