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The goal of this History Harvest is to democratize and widen our understanding of the electoral process. Though elections are celebrated as giving voice to the people, all too often our historical understanding of elections is dominated by campaign managers and political elites.

By collecting information on the historical memories of the local electorate, History Harvest will provide a unique insight into how ordinary citizens in central Illinois have participated in and remembered the democratic process. Students from Dr. Devin Hunter’s undergraduate Public History class and Dr. Ken Owen’s graduate History and Digital Media class will lead a departmental effort to collect data for the digital exhibit–photographing, scanning, and preserving the stories behind the materials brought in for inclusion. Students will take high-resolution photographs of each object, or alternatively high-resolutions scans of documents. Participants will then have an opportunity to tell the student ‘harvesters’ the stories behind the objects. After the harvest is concluded students will work on creating an online, free-to-access archive that presents and preserves materials brought in on the day.

The UIS History Harvest is part of a national movement connecting communities and universities through the practice of local history. More information on the national movement can be found here.

For more information on the 2016 UIS History Harvest, see our Frequently Asked Questions page.