Final Project: The South Bronx is Burning Historypin Tour

By: Sherrell Daley

For my final project, I created a tour using Historypin to explain the factors that led to arson in the South Bronx in the 1970’s. The tour shows how the community was affected by the fires and how the federal and state governments responded to the crises. Throughout the tour, I reference the New York Times’ archives and books about New York’s fiscal crisis as well. I pinned specific areas where the arson took place and relevant locations that explain different sections of the tour. For example, I pinned New York, New York when explaining the history of the South Bronx and pinned specific arson events to show how all of these events were connected to one another. 

These are the questions I answered when creating the tour:

  • What economic factors led to the arson? 
  • Why was the South Bronx more heavily impacted by the fires than other parts of the city?
  • Who benefited from the fires? 
  • How did the fires impact the South Bronx community and its residents?
  • How did the city and federal governments respond to the arson?

To answer these questions, I decided to research the factors that led to the fires in New York City, particularly in the South Bronx, in the first place. I researched New York City from the 1930s – 1960s to write the Introduction section of the tour. As previously mentioned, I referenced the New York Times’ archives of the reports of arson in the South Bronx along with books about the New York fiscal crisis to complete the project.  

Originally, I set out to create a story map exhibit showing the pattern between the distances to each fire station and the locations where arson was reported in the South Bronx. I was trying to find documents about the closures of fire departments in the South Bronx in the 1970s, but was unable to obtain the records. After talking to one of my classmates, I decided to focus on how the residents were affected by the fires and how it impacted the community at the time. Also, when first trying to create the exhibit on Storymaps it was really difficult to work with, so I decided to work with Historypin instead. Overall, Historypin was more user friendly, I felt more comfortable using it and I actually already had some experience working with it. 

Despite my rough start, I am very satisfied with how my project turned out. Historypin really helped me accomplish my goals for this project and even exceeded my expectations. This software was very easy to use and it allowed me to quickly make changes and add materials to the collection/tour. After this project, I will try to take a break from this topic and explore other areas in New York City’s history and the 1970s. I really enjoyed working on this project and gaining more experience making online exhibits. I hope I can make more of them in the future. 

I hope you enjoy the tour as much as I enjoyed making it!

Link to Tour –,-73.918426,11/bounds/40.654039,-74.066398,40.980898,-73.770454/paging/1/pin/1171547

Presentation Poster of the South Bronx is Burning Project
The Historypin Tour

Final Project: Topic Modeling Enslavement Narratives

I really enjoyed dabbling with MALLET this semester. To be completely honest, I may have bitten off more than I could chew – especially once Python slithered into the mix. While I learned much, I mostly realized that I still have so much to learn. Even with the most basic technical grasp, though, MALLET can be useful as a brainstorming tool in the early stages of a research project.

If I could restart this project from the beginning, I would narrow my scope considerably and focus on familiarizing myself with existing scholarship. There is so much cool research being done with MALLET and with enslavement narratives, and I have only begun to breach the surface. In terms of my technical understanding, I’m sure that reading more MALLET studies would have answered many of my questions. And regarding the history of slavery, I can only ever keep learning and growing. I ultimately would have benefitted from spending more time with that scholarship, and less time trying to revive my programming skills.

That said, I loved being able to write code for a history class. It was simple code, and it took me far, far longer than it should have, but I enjoyed every minute of it. While my history project may have been better off with more historiography and less technical practice, having up-to-date programming skills can only ever be a good thing in the long run.

My poster is presented below, and relevant files (including my final paper) have been uploaded to my GitHub. I look forward to continuing my work on this research in the future.

Presentation Poster for “Topic Modeling Enslavement Narratives”

– Jessica Shainker

The Rest of History (Podcast) | Final Project with Sam Burnett, from Site Contributor Lauren Pfeil

I don’t know that I’ve ever had a long-term project that I enjoyed as much as I have enjoyed creating a podcast for this class. The Rest of History, or TRoH, to our loyal fans, is a history podcast created for an audience that hasn’t seen much historical media created with them in mind, and for people who are interested in learning history through hearing stories told in a way that reaches them. Making this with Sam has been a very valuable experience for me as a public historian-in-training, and it has also been incredibly fun!

Sam and I were able to take a multifaceted approach to creating this podcast. Because, of course, we had the entire semester to come up with material, we weren’t on quite as much of a time crunch as podcasters who release new episodes every single week. Nevertheless, as complete rookies, we definitely benefitted from having a longer time in which we could ideate—and ideate we did. The basis of our podcast was, of course, the actual historical material. Sam and I think we are very entertaining on our own, but without a real premise and storyline in mind, we wouldn’t have had enough stand-up material or hilarious real-life moments to fill four entire recorded episodes. 

We divided and conquered when it came to our content. Our format demanded that each of us outline our respective “host” episodes separately; one of us would serve as the storyteller and one of us would be hearing the story for the first time. The commentator always went in completely blind, which was both a blessing and a curse. I couldn’t bounce ideas off of Sam or figure out how to word things quite the way I wanted to if I needed to get unstuck, but I also knew that I was going to be able to surprise and shock Sam with what I could think of ahead of time (often with hysterical results).

Recording a podcast was, of course, a time-intensive endeavor; across our trailer and four episodes, we recorded almost ten hours of raw material. We had originally envisioned our episodes being somewhat on the shorter side—perhaps 20-30 minutes each. Both of us definitely came very, very prepared to the recording sessions that we were responsible for hosting, so we had more than enough material to record and then to subsequently deal with. I think we both realize that that was probably for the best, though, because it certainly would have been disappointing if our episodes had less-than-satisfactory material. 

When it came to preparing our episodes to be made available digitally, we divided up the work again. My primary task was doing all of the audio editing and mixing for the episodes; this was something I was familiar with, because I have been participating in creating music for all of my life. Of course, podcasts differ from music in one key way; whereas a musical score is predictable and one should know exactly how long it should take to record, our podcast relied heavily on improvisation. Between our extended chats and wild tangents—plus the time when I knocked a full can of Dr. Pepper onto my off-white rug during a recording session—I had to edit out a TON of the raw material. In fact, for Episode 01: Fairies, Murder, and the Burning of Bridget Cleary, I took 2 hours and 43 minutes down to 1 hour and 11 minutes, meaning that I cut out over 56% of the raw material! 

As we continued on and got closer to making our podcast publicly available, Sam and I grew more and more comfortable at the mic, at webmaster-ing, in the editing suite (a.k.a my couch, with quiet snacks and over-the-ear headphones), and in our end product. We’ve had a couple of our friends tell us that they forget that it’s us when they listen and that they really believe that they’re listening to a professional podcast! Honestly, no comment could make me happier. This project has been an amazing experience filled with lots of laughs and pints of chocolate chip cookie dough, and it has resulted in a lot of my favorite moments from this school year. In all seriousness, I have told just about everyone I know about this podcast, because I am really, really passionate about what we have created together. 

All this to say, *Podcaster Voice* please subscribe to our show and leave us a five-star review, because it really does help more people discover the podcast. And of course, you can learn more about the show on our website,, where you can also find each episode’s show notes, and on our Instagram, @therestofhistorypod. 

Signing off—


Lauren Pfeil is a graduate student at American University. A native of Des Moines, Iowa and a proud alumna of Butler University, she hopes to push the field of public history towards a more inclusive & accessible landscape.

Reach Lauren on Twitter: @lauren_pfeil
Reach Lauren via email:

Final Project: The Past That Haunts Us

Bryce Thomas

Hello everyone!

My Final project is a online exhibition on the history of ghost tours called “The Past That Haunts Us” that sought to explore the importance of ghost tours and their history. To create the project I used ArcGIS StoryMaps and it was much easier to use than I thought it would be. In my project I was able to explore how ghost tours interact with concepts like memory, place, and history as a field. I then used a combonation of words and visuals to create a slideshow exhibit.

One thing that suprised me is how easy it was to find sources for the subject of ghost tours. I also found that ArcGIS StoryMaps is easy software to use once you play around with it for a hour or so. I think the hardest part was narrowing down information into an exhibit and formatting some of the sources for the project but I think I figured it out. I hope you all have a wonderful summer and I’m so glad that I was a part of such an smart and amzaing class as this one. So before I link my projects and leave I would like to thank each and every one of you for a wonderful semester and I hope I see you again in the fall.

My poster:

My Project is Linked here

Final Project: African American History Digital Resources

Hi everyone!

For my final project I wanted to create something that people could use and benefit from, while also taking advantage of my love for knowledge. Thus, a blog was born. I used Word Press to create a blog for educators looking for resources related to African American History. Each of the six blog posts focus on a different online resource, ranging from websites specifically tailored to educators all the way to huge online archives. The actual writing was easy, but fighting with Word Press took up the majority of my brain power. After figuring out how to format everything and fighting with color schemes, I finally settled on something that I was happy with and was able to focus on the actual content.

I had a lot of fun reading online forums and other blogs by teachers discussing these types of resources and some of the challenges they faced. If I had to start over from the beginning, I would reach out to some of my teacher friends and ask for their opinion about online resources for African American History. I am not an educator, and trying to think of some of the challenges teachers may face was probably one of the most frustrating parts. It would have definitely helped to have other opinions.

I look forward to continuing this project and I hope that over time I can reach out to teachers and students and see what sources they have used and if there are any they have struggled with or don’t recommend.

Final Project