Toolbox Overview

The Public Humanities Toolbox: Engaging Communities Online

This website and handbook seek to show small cultural heritage organizations how to use easy web tools to create great websites. We present a set of tools that can be combined in different ways depending on what type of web presence your organization needs. We start with the basic blogand explain how to include various other features to make a dynamic website. If you already have a website, these tools can be used in addition to it or as a replacement for it. You may want to use these tools to build a web presence for one specific project and then link to it from your main website. You may not have any website at all, in which case it is time to get started.

We have developed a model of an organization’s online presence based on the free or very inexpensive tools that have been developed in the last few years. These features do not enable every type of online activity possible (though they come darn close!). However, we have identified the most common functions that a small cultural heritage organization might expect of its website and some of the most exciting possibilities among recent web applications. We developed the Public Humanities Toolbox also knowing that not all features would be equally desirable to different users. We were also aware that our tools should be easy for the novice to build and for the end-user to navigate.

We begin with a series of checklists to help you decide which tools you want to use. Then, we focus on several tools and show you how to use them:

We finish with some great examples that show you these tools in action in organizations like yours.

Our principal goal is to create a rich interactive web-based framework of existing free and open source applications that can be used by small cultural heritage organizations to develop an engaging web presence. We hope that our ideas and model are, above all, useful. We hope that they help small organizations find and build audiences and that in doing so they and their collections become a vital part of their communities.

We are scheduled to present the Toolbox at these upcoming events:

No upcoming events scheduled.

If you would like to schedule a presentation or workshop about the Public Humanities Toolbox, please contact Leah or reply below.

Past presentations include:

The National Council on Public History Annual Meeting

Friday, April 3, 2009; 1:45-5 pm

Providence, Rhode Island

$30; to register, visit

UPDATE: Presentation here.

Rhode Island Council for the Humanities Skill Share series

Monday, May 18; 12-1:30 pm

Providence, Rhode Island

FREE; call Sue Ellen Kroll at 401-273-2250 to RSVP

UPDATE: Presentation here.

Massachusetts History Conference presented by Mass Humanities, the Massachusetts Public History Conference, and the Massachusetts Historical Society

Monday, June 8, 2009; 1-4 pm

Worcester, Massachusetts

For registration information, contact Patricia L. Bruttomesso at Mass Humanities: 413.588-1606 or

UPDATE: Presentation here.

Pioneer Valley History Network

Holyoke, Massachusetts

10 June 2009

UPDATE: Presentation here.

John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage at Brown University

Friday, October 1, 2010; 9 am–12 pm

Providence, Rhode Island

John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage at Brown University

Friday, October 1, 2010; 9 am–12 pm

Providence, Rhode Island

The cost of the workshop is $15.  Light morning refreshments included.  To learn more and download the registration form, see “Upcoming Events” at the JNBC.


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