Project Draft – Power of Place in Washington, D.C.

Hello, everyone!

So far, I have compiled a list in a Word Document of oral histories from the DC Public Library, DC History Center, American University’s Humanities Truck, and the Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project that detail how Washingtonians feel about landmarks and historic areas in the District. I hope to further explore the Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project’s oral histories about Capitol Hill and look for any other databases that would be helpful to my research.

In my research, I have run into a couple of roadblocks. I realized that I could not add audio to the maps, so I instead included an excerpt from the transcript and placed the link to the full oral history at the end of each explanation. Additionally, some databases are more extensive and accessible than others. For the Chevy Chase Historical Society, one must visit in person, but the oral histories just have the name of the person interviewed and the date with no other information, so it is difficult for me to understand which interviews would be the most helpful before arriving at the historical society, which has approximately 100 interviews. Therefore, looking through this historical society’s oral histories might be difficult this semester. Additionally, the Rainbow History Project wants people to request an audio file of the oral history instead of having the link directly on the website. This project does include summaries of the interviews, so I am planning on looking those over and sending an email for the files of a few oral histories that would aid in this project if they can be added in enough time before the semester ends.

For the draft, I added 10 places to the Google My Maps I created. On the map, each landmark has a pin. I chose a red star as I felt that each pin would stand out and would be easier for people to find on the map. I also chose the base map as the same one that is found on Google Maps for both Washingtonians and non-Washingtonians to be able to situate themselves in the city, especially if that person wanted to visit the landmarks and historic neighborhoods. Here is the link to the map:

Moving forward, I plan to place all of these oral histories I have found on the Google My Maps before the semester ends. In delving into other databases, I hope to add more stories and landmarks as I plan to research more oral histories in April before the final project is due. I want to find landmarks in all of the quadrants and hope to highlight stories from people of varying backgrounds and perspectives.

I hope you enjoy the map so far, and let me know what you think in the comments!

-Meredith Jackson

2 Replies to “Project Draft – Power of Place in Washington, D.C.”

  1. Your project looks to be really coming together! I appreciate that your project brings the perspectives of Washingtonians on the monuments that surround them into further light. I also appreciated that you covered relatively lesser-known monuments rather than the basic, tourist ones. Not only has it opened my eyes to some monuments that I would like to visit, but it also gives me some insights into these monuments which will aid in the experience. For people closely connected to these monuments, either through its proximity or help in constructing it, your project has opened a door for the public in learning about and interacting with history. Specifically, I had never heard about the Knickerbocker Theater or its disaster a hundred years ago. Your inclusion of the oral history and context were helpful in evaluating its historical relevance. It is important to not only inform the public but also connect them to it through oral histories and “the power of place” as many people might walk by it every day and not understand its relevance.

  2. I have just got to say, the map looks great! the comments from the people really make the project unique and informative. Oral History can be so powerful when used in this way, and I can’t wait how it all comes together!

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