Featured Projects

2019 Summer Institute in Public Humanities: Featured Projects by Participants
photo of two riders, Montana Victory Ride


Reenacting and Remembering the Battle of Greasy Grass,
aka The Battle of Little Bighorn

Elena Creef, Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Wellesley College

Professor Creef says of her project, “As a non-native cultural historian, I have been participating for the past three years on what the Lakota call ‘The Montana Victory Ride’ where I am honored to serve in multiple roles as Ride supporter, camp go-fer, cook shack crew member, horse wrangler, and informal documentary photographer. I will return next June 22-25, 2020 to complete the traditional four year commitment cycle that is part of all Lakota ceremonies.

“In addition, I have been in communication with Keith Haring who operates the U.S. Cavalry School's reenactment camp and am now making arrangements to participate next June 15-21, 2020 as a mounted member of ‘Custer's Last Ride.’

“My Public Humanities Project is conceived as a bridge built on intercultural historical storytelling that uses photography, audio, and video to document and bring together these two worlds of Re-enactment and Indigenous Remembering that take place within a few miles of one another and yet never meet.”

[Photograph by Elena Creef. Northern Cheyenne & Arapaho Riders, Carl Petersen on Montana Victory Ride June 2019]

A Caribbean Museum

Fiona VernalAssociate Professor of History at the University of Connecticut

Professor Vernal says of the museum she’s launching, “This project leverages community-based archival collecting, an oral history initiative, and traveling exhibitions to foster public and curricular conversations about migration, settlement, and housing in Hartford, Connecticut. Between 1940 and 2019 thousands of people made Hartford home, transforming the city into a majority-minority urban area; African Americans, West Indians, and Puerto Ricans comprise upwards of 80% of the city’s population of 124,775. African Americans fled the South. Puerto Ricans relocated to the mainland and West Indians responded to new opportunities beyond the Caribbean. These migrations, epic and mundane, redrew the landscape of major urban centers in the United States, making Hartford both an illustrative local case study and an instructive national model through which to understand three narratives of the Great Migration….

“This project weaves these Great Migration narratives into one analytical framework for understanding the role of place, cultural heritage, and community succession in the making of America, the making of Connecticut, and the making of Hartford.”

Stories from the Archives: African Americans in Essex National Heritage Area


Kabria Baumgartner, Assistant Professor of English at UNH

Professor Baumgartner describes what drew her to her project: “Fascinating stories of African Americans… lie buried, sometimes surfacing at a public exhibition or an academic talk. This project seeks to engage undergraduate students to help unearth archival materials, from letters to petitions to photographs, that will be culled to create short, historically-sound digital stories to share with Essex County residents and tourists.”