Digital Harrisburg

History Meets the Digital Age

In 2014, Messiah University (then, Messiah College) faculty and students and Harrisburg University partnered to launch an initiative to digitize Harrisburg’s history. The project has grown beyond we could all have imagined! At Messiah, the project developed over the summer of 2014 through paid work studies positions supported by Messiah’s Diversity Affairs Office and the Messiah Public Humanities Student Fellows Program sponsored by the Center for Public Humanities. Harrisburg University of Science and Technology worked on the GIS side of things. The vision was for this public history initiative to explore the practice of history in the digital age.

Two early projects were "City Social" -- the digitization of 1900 and 1910 census records -- and "City Beautiful" -- photographs and information documenting Harrisburg's visionary project to clean and update the city in the 1900s. Through technology, Harrisburg comes to live. Using both primary research and reflections by Messiah University students, we have partnered with Digital Harrisburg to create an interactive map of the 1900 and 1910 census records. You can find that map on the Digital Harrisburg website.

Students sit behind laptops that display images of historic maps.