Doing Local History

Doing local history can be challenging in many ways. While focusing on one area, region, or town, it may seem easier to do this type of historical work. In a local history project, any information one might need to complete a history project will most likely be located within one area. This makes a historians job easier: less travel and less searching endless archives for information.

However, there are many challenges to doing local history work. Often the historical work is focused on nostalgia and memory. While these topics are important, it can be difficult to complete historical work with a local population because of their memory of specific events. Often local history projects might have to defer to the local community. This could make expansion of the project more difficult.

Digital history provides a platform for local history projects. The goal of digital local history is to share the history of a town, region, area, or people, with a greater audience. Since digital platforms allow for greater expansion of history projects, it can be difficult for a digital local history project to stay within the bounds of “local.”

This module’s readings helped me when thinking about my own project, as my project is a digital local history project. After going through this module, I want my project to:

  • Stay within the bounds of Warsaw history
  • Be as encompassing as possible with Warsaw history, without going outside of the project’s goals
  • Have balance in terms of resources and data and the ways they are interpreted
  • Engage in some way with the current Warsaw community


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