The Toolbox in Action!

The Pioneer Valley History Network's new home page

I wanted to share this update from Sheila D., who attended a presentation about the Public Humanities Toolbox in June 2009 at the Pioneer Valley (Massachusetts) History Network.

I was recently able to use wordpress.com to bail the Pioneer Valley History Network out of a jam – I’m on the steering committee and the drupal site we’d hired done for $1,000 a few years ago had turned into a huge problem…the tech guy we’d worked with sort of disappeared, we couldn’t make changes, things weren’t working, etc….finally I offered to create a wordpress site for us, and everybody is very happy now! Check it out: http://pvhn.wordpress.com/

And that led to another “save the day” opportunity for the Veterans Education Project, where they were in similar crisis with their website – and for this one I actually got paid a little bit! Theirs just went live yesterday: http://vetsed.org – and I included enough training for them to take over and do the rest themselves (they will add articles, etc.)

The new home page of the Veterans Education Project

These are both really good examples of how small humanities organizations can (and have) use the Toolbox framework to build a site that works for them.  For instance, for the Veterans Education Project site, you’ll notice that static pages have been built and there is not a “post comments” area.  This makes sense since the site is purely informational–it needs to explain the different aspects of the organization, rather than cultivate an online community or seek feedback from the public.  I am also impressed that Sheila thought to train the members of the VEP to update the site themselves.  This is another reason we put together the Toolbox: small organizations need to be able to manage the tools without relying on the trouble and expense of outside contractors (as the example from PVHN makes abundantly clear).

Both of Sheila’s sites will be added to the Examples section of this site.

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