Since spring 2014, faculty and students from Messiah College and Harrisburg University of Science and Technology have been working on a variety of digital projects related to the history of Harrisburg, its environs, and south-central Pennsylvania. Here is a selection:


  • City Social. A spatial history project created by history and geospatial technology students and faculty of Harrisburg University and Messiah College, devoted to putting the entire population of Harrisburg on the map in 1900 to 1930.
  • Interactive Map of Harrisburg in 1900. An off-shoot of the City Social Project, this map allows the visitor to see the city as it existed 120 years ago. See who was living in your house in 1900, or search for individuals in the city by last name. Harrisburg University and Messiah College faculty and students are currently working on extending the interactive map chronologically (to 1930) and spatially (to neighboring Steelton).
  • City Beautiful. A project devoted to preserving and showcasing the documents and images of Harrisburg’s City Beautiful movement, 1900-1915. Launched through Dr. Pettegrew’s Digital History course in fall 2014 and revised in fall 2015. To learn more about the project, visit this page; to see the primary sources and exhibits, visit the Omeka site.
  • Harrisburg Giants Documentary Project. A developing documentary about the Harrisburg Giants, an American Negro League baseball team that fully integrated in the 1950s. Created by students in communication and film at Messiah College, the documentary features interviews with both Giants and local historians and reveals how determination and a “love of the game” led the team to win championships and reconcile racial differences despite the segregation of the early twentieth century.
  • Poetry in Place. Sponsored by Messiah College’s Center for Public Humanities, Poetry in Place has partnered with Harrisburg teachers and community leaders to cultivate in students a deeper connection to the rich cultural, historical, and ecological roots of the city through field trips that nurture historical inquiry, followed by poetry workshops that invite students to contribute their own creative expressions and perspectives to the city. Last year, Messiah students and faculty worked with Rowland Middle School, Marshall Math Science Middle School, and John Harris High School. All of the poems have been recorded and will eventually be made public through story-telling maps.
  • Church histories. Messiah College faculty and students in History, Ethnic and Area Studies, and Communication, as well as student fellows for the Center for Public Humanities, have partnered with Harrisburg churches in 2015-2016 to conduct oral histories and digitize and archive significant historical documents related to their communities: Wesley Union AME Zion church; Capital Presbyterian USA, an African American congregation founded in 1857; and St. Paul’s Episcopal, a multiethnic congregation. Digital documents and audio files will be made public when digitization and editing are complete.
  • Historic Harrisburg. An Omeka website devoted to historical exhibits of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Created by students in Dr. Fea’s Pennsylvania History course (Spring 2014).
  • Rural Pennsylvania. An Omeka website with historical exhibits on rural life in York, Cumberland, and Dauphin Counties, Pennsylvania. Created by students in Dr. Fea’s Pennsylvania History course (Spring 2014) and Dr. Pettegrew’s Historical Archaeology class (Fall 2014).
  • African-American PA. An Omeka website with historical exhibits devoted to African-American history in south-central Pennslvania. Created by students in Dr. Fea’s Pennsylvania History course (Spring 2014).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.