Brooklyn Sports

Project Director: Keara Duggan

Source of Materials: Brooklyn Historical Society Archives- Photograph and Manuscript Collections

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Executive Summary
The Brooklyn Historical Society proposes a one-year digitization project to preserve and make available archival materials related to history in Brooklyn for the use of students, educators and scholars. BHS has a unique collection of primary sources central to the history of Brooklyn, dating from 1659 to the present. This project will bring together and digitize the archival materials featured in our four curriculum kits- Brooklyn On the Move, Brooklyn At Work, The Brooklyn Bridge and Brooklyn Sports. These kits include materials related to important historical themes including urbanization, transportation, civil rights, women’s rights, worker’s rights, community, and immigration. The collection features previously unpublished photographs, oral histories, historical documents and ephemera. This digitization project will make our content widely accessible through online exhibits using Omeka and other digital technologies that will enable BHS to open these primary sources up to students, educators and researchers who would otherwise be unable to view and interact with our collections. The “Post Your Story” feature will also enrich the resources available to students and scholars of Brooklyn history. Omeka enables community members to submit their own stories about sports, transportation and work in Brooklyn. We will provide educators with extension activities to incorporate these stories into their lesson plans. Sadie Sullivan, BHS’ oral historian, will also draw from this collection of submitted stories when seeking out oral histories to record in Brooklyn.

The exhibits’ primary purpose will be to serve as a resource for students and educators. The site will be intimately linked with the physical curriculum kits, which we provide for local educators, grades 4-11. The proposed project provides the ideal opportunity to use these curriculum materials in a way that increases access to BHS’ rich collection through digitization. The online exhibits will provide direct access to primary source materials included as facsimiles in the curriculum kits and expand to include archival materials related to, but not included in the original classroom kits. We will add value to these primary documents by creating an interpretative framework, which will support students and educators in considering these images and objects in their broader, social and historical context. The Brooklyn At Work, Brooklyn on the Move and Brooklyn Bridge have been used and evaluated in classrooms around Brooklyn. The average rating for these three kits is a 95% in all areas including effectiveness, interest in content, accessibility of information for students, engagement with activities and meeting teaching standards. The Brooklyn Sports curriculum kit will be launched this June and will go through a similar evaluation process by teachers. This feedback demonstrates that the materials we propose to digitize are highly engaging, rich and of great interest to educators and students alike. This project will also provide the infrastructure and work plan necessary for further digitization of materials, as BHS creates more curriculum kits in the future.

In addition to serving as an educational tool, this digitization project and the online exhibit will also serve as a resource for scholars who wish to access primary source materials related to Brooklyn, 1659 to the present. All users will be able to view the exhibits or conduct their own search of the archival materials by keyword, subject, geographic location, date or theme. By funding this project, NEH will help to make important and engaging archival materials and historical content available to a broad, national audience of students, educators and scholars.

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