The Muhlenberg Memories Project

Course Description

Immerse yourself in the dynamic landscape of the 1960s, where societal shifts and pivotal moments converged on Muhlenberg College. Unearth hidden stories from the College archives. Conduct first-hand interviews with alumni. Build captivating transmedia digital narratives. Show the impact of the 1960s and how it continues to resonate at Muhlenberg today.

In this course, you will develop historical research skills and familiarity with archival practice by utilizing primary sources from the College Archives. You will be introduced to visual literacies and ethics and will work as a member of a project team to further lift up the stories of this transformative chapter in college history. 

Learning Outcomes

Scholarship as conversation
Learners will be able to distinguish primary from secondary sources and describe how these sources interrelate within research. Learners will be able to synthesize a variety of primary and secondary sources to construct, support, or dispute a research argument, and be able to distinguish between research tools with information about sources and the sources themselves. Learners will use primary sources to contribute to the scholarly conversation in creative ways, including oral histories and a final online project.

Searching as Strategic Exploration
Learners will recognize that archival research is an iterative process which includes defining an information need within a historical or cultural context, initiating and refining a search strategy, and seeking alternative points of view on a topic. Learners will employ increasingly specialized research techniques which may include use of archival databases, finding aids, and other research tools. Learners will recognize how their own perspectives and different research methodologies influence their search process.

Authority is Constructed and Contextual
Learners will be able to evaluate the record creator’s perspective and identify their connection(s) to the purpose and audience of a primary source. Learners will consider the reasons for silences, contradictions, and power relationships within archival collections and articulate how these may impact both the value of the source and the archival research process. As a result of engaging in primary source research, learners will develop historical empathy, curiosity, and an appreciation for primary sources.

Information Creation as a Process
Learners will be able to examine a primary source and articulate how its different components such as handwriting, language, and the technology used to create the source may reveal its provenance and contribute to the perceived value of the primary source. Learners will be able to recognize that primary sources may exist in a broad array of formats including both original documents as well as digital and print copies.

Research as Inquiry
Learners will be able to discover specific primary sources for research within a historical perspective. Learners will be able to demonstrate a sense of curiosity when defining a research question with the understanding that research is a fluid process that is subject to change. Learners will be able to recognize the possible limitations of archival research, which include an understanding that records may not exist or be publicly available, and that the creation, survival, and access to archival collections is mediated by human actors.

Information Has Value
Learners will be able to describe the unique ethical and legal considerations of using primary sources when conducting archival research. Learners will respect privacy rights, copyright laws, and the cultural context of a source, and cite sources following the attribution standards for their specific discipline. Learners will be able to identify the connection between a primary sources’ content and its physical format.

Adapted from

Course Map

As envisioned, the course will proceed in three, integrated, successive, somewhat overlapping, phases.

Phase One – Establish foundations in primary research, data visualization, and digital storytelling

  • Discriminate among types of knowledge and interrogating their intersections and implications
    • Read archival resources, articles, and other texts
    • Share data visualization projects
    • Explore and discuss digital storytelling texts

Phase Two – Explore personal project possibilities through specific research and design methods

  • Develop research skills in the archives 
  • Articulate personal digital project’s milestones 
  • Discover transmediamaking techniques 

Phase Three – Engage in digital storytelling and transmediamaking 

  • Produce your digital storytelling project
  • Write a substantive reflection paper