The Gay Rodeo Oral History Project

I am Rebecca Scofield, an associate professor of American history and chair of the department of history at the University of Idaho. I grew up in Emmett, Idaho, and have seen firsthand how mythological structures can exclude certain populations from collective identities, even as those people have always existed in western spaces. I have found DH to be a more effective way of telling more complete and inclusive histories of the US West

The Gay Rodeo Oral History Project is a multipronged public history project aimed at collecting, preserving, and curating stories of LGBTQ+ westerners, particularly through a partnership with the International Gay Rodeo Association (IGRA). Our work entails conducting interviews with rodeo association members and then presenting their lived experiences to a wider audience through a curated digital exhibit, The Voices of Gay Rodeo. In addition to our digital project, a team of collaborators and I have developed a verbatim theater piece currently titled That Damn Horse: The Stories of Gay Rodeo. This play draws from dozens of our interviews to weave together a broad conversation about the meaning and experience of gay rodeo. We have held one zoom reading and hope to stage another production after we have revised the script. Over the next year, we will be donating our collection to the Autry Museum of the American West for permanent preservation.

WHA 2022 Digital Scholarship Lineup

We are so excited to bring you this year’s best and brightest Western Digital Historians! Here is the lineup for this year (in alphabetical order):

  • Julia Brown-Bernstein, California State University San Marcos
  • Kathryn B. Carpenter, Princeton University
  • Donna Rae Devlin, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Veronica Nohemi Duran, Texas A&M University-Commerce
  • Gabrielle Guillerm, Red Cloud Indian School
  • Caitlyn Jones, University of Houston
  • Rachel D. Kline, U.S. Forest Service
  • Julia Lewandoski, California State University San Marcos
  • Elías David Navarro, University of Houston
  • Leighton Quarles, USDA Forest Service
  • Rebecca Scofield, University of Idaho

We are meeting on Thursday, October 13, 2022 from 10:15am – 11:45am in the Blanco Room on the Hill Country Level. Our panelists will be sharing their abstracts and links to their projects on this blog over the next couple weeks. Check back often!

Following the Digital Scholarship Lightning Round, we are introducing a new type of panel called the Digital History Corral in which members of the Digital Scholarship Committee offer one-on-one advice for tweaking existing projects or getting your project off the ground. The Corral will meet on Thursday, October 13, 2022 from 1:30pm – 3:00pm in the Pecan Room on the Hill Country Level.

Please contact Rebecca Wingo (chair) at rebecca.wingo [at] gmail [dot] com if you have any questions!

Herland Sister Resources digital exhibit

Hello all! I am b hinesley, a student in the in the Public History MA program at Oklahoma State University. I will be continuing in their PhD program next year. As part of my in a program, I completed an internship. Within this, I created a physical and digital exhibit for OSU’s Museum of Art about the Herland Sister Resource (HSR).

HSR, a feminist and lesbian activist group from Oklahoma City, want held one of United States few feminist book stores and also had a lending library of books, periodicals, and records. In my presentation I will show the limited digital exibit that still sits on the OSU ma website, plus, the ongoing work to build a permanent digital exhibit of all of the archived items for HSR. All of this is being done using free platforms available to student historians, like me. These tools are wonderful for those who to share history projects with the public, from non-traditional places & also those who want to help nonprofit organizations.

Shine Trabucco: PUB_lic History Podcast

Hello everyone! My name is Shine Trabucco. I am currently a Master’s student in Public History at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas. I research and write on environmental and borderland history of San Antonio, Texas. I focus on producing digital projects for my research to make it more accessible to reacher broader audiences.

I am a co-producer and editor of “PUB_lic History Podcast.” The podcast covers different topics and projects that are related to public history in different venues around the San Antonio area. The podcast is in its early stages however we are currently working on creating a logo so that we can begin uploading it to different podcasting services such as Apple Podcasts. This project aims to create access and introduce new topics in history for the general public.

You can also find us on Twitter!

Brian Luna Lucero: Preservation and Citation of Digital History Projects, a Librarian’s Perspective

Hello, my name is Brian Luna Lucero. I have a Ph.D. in History from the University of New Mexico. I am currently the Digital Projects Librarian at Columbia University. In that role, I help Columbia’s librarians and faculty create digital collections and exhibits from Columbia’s extensive physical archives. 

I am excited to be part of the Six Shooters panel at WHA. It is an outstanding venue for bringing together the worlds of history and digital libraries. I will be discussing ways that historians can plan a long life for their digital projects and ensure that they can be used by other scholars in the future. I will present key questions about how digital projects operate, where they are stored, how they are described and how they can be cited. I will suggest the answers to those questions as I walk attendees through platforms, repositories, licensing, metadata and documentation.

Joel Zapata: Chicana/o Activism in the Southern Plains Through Time and Space

Hello everyone! I am Joel Zapata. I am currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at El Paso. I research and write on the long-term history of the greater U.S.-Mexico borderlands, the Southwest, the South, and the lands where these regions meet, the Southern Great Plains.

At our 2019 Six Shooter session, I will be presenting on Chicana/o Activism in the Southern Plains Through Time and Space, a digital history and mapping project. This project is a platform through which both scholars and the wider public can find an Interactive Timeline and Map along with a curated online collection of materials regarding the Southern Plains’ Chicana/o Civil Rights Movement. A home page introducing the Chicana/o Movement along with a page describing the Southern Plains function in a similar way, as the introductory panels of a museum exhibition, gradually moving visitors into the Interactive Timeline and Map—the heart of this digital history project—and the online collection. Therefore, the project provides an accessible, digital museum experience that has not emerged within the walls of the Southern Plains’ museums and related institutions.

While I am looking forward to presenting on Chicana/o Activism in the Southern Plains Through Time and Space, I am even more thrilled to seeing everyone else’s digital history work.

Sean Fraga: Digital Visualizations of Pacific Northwest Maritime Trade Networks during American Settlement, 1851–61

Hello everyone! I’m Sean Fraga. I hold a Ph.D. in history from Princeton University and am currently a lecturer in the Princeton Writing Program. I study links between mobility, technology, the environment, and social change. My current research explores the role of steam power in American territorial expansion, especially in the Pacific Northwest. 

At this year’s Six Shooter session, I’ll be discussing my digital history project, They Came on Waves of Ink: Pacific Northwest Maritime Trade at the Dawn of American Settlement, 1851–61. This project created maps and data visualizations from archival U.S. Customs records to show commercial links between Puget Sound’s first American settlers and the Pacific World. 

Waves of Ink tells the stories hidden in a beaten-up, handwritten ledger. In 1851, the United States created the Puget Sound Customs District as part of the nation’s territorial expansion to the Pacific Coast. During the district’s first decade, U.S. Customs officials used this ledger to record a wealth of information about each vessel arriving and departing Puget Sound: its name, nationality, tonnage, type, place built, registration, voyage dates, inbound and outbound ports, captain’s name, cargo carried, and details about the crew and passengers. 

My research team and I transcribed roughly 4,500 entries across 150 pages. A copy of the preliminary transcription is available on GitHub. This project was supported by Princeton’s Center for Digital Humanities, which hosted me as a postgraduate research associate during spring semester 2019. I am now preparing the dataset and related articles for publication.

This project helps reveal the importance of maritime trade to American colonization of the Pacific Northwest. At the WHA, I’ll discuss the transcription process, readying the dataset for analysis, and ways of exploring the data with Excel, QGIS, and Palladio. 

Cynthia C. Prescott: Pioneer Monuments in the American West

Hi, my name is Cynthia Prescott, and I am an associate professor of history at the University of North Dakota. My website, Pioneer Monuments in the American West, began as an inexpensive way to display color photographs of the nearly 200 public statues and sculptural reliefs I examine in my new book.  But building that website had a profound impact on my research project. Going digital enabled me to better manage my growing database of monuments. A tool developed for that website enabled me to map the erection of those monuments over both time and space. That in turn led me to ask new research questions that enriched my analysis of those monuments on the website and in the book.

As public attention turned toward increasingly controversial monuments beginning in 2015, I reimagined the scope and purpose of my website. While it remains a repository for images and content that didn’t fit into my 400-page monograph, I now envision it primarily as a tool for public engagement. Through my website and a variety of other platforms, I seek to inform ongoing debates about controversial monuments, and to spark conversations about similar monuments that have thus far gone unchallenged. I gave a series of public presentations, several of which can now be streamed through my website. I collaborated with K-12 teachers to develop model lesson plans that are now freely available on that site. And I am partnering with Clio—a website and mobile app that guides the public to thousands of historic sites—to reach more readers and to build actual and virtual tours of pioneer monuments throughout the United States.

DIY Audio Tour: the 1910 Historic Harris County Courthouse

Hello! I’m Margaret SternberghI am an Independent Interpretation Specialist. I work with clients like cultural organizations and museums to develop ways to make that content accessible and interesting to the everyday person or visitor.

At our WHA: Six Shooters presentation, I’ll be sharing a recent project I worked on that used a free, DIY audio tour platform,, to transform personal interviews into an accessible location-based audio tour of the 1910 Historic Harris County Courthouse in Houston, Texas.

The project is a great example of how to use free technology to make the stories behind historic sites and locations available to the general public.

You can check out the audio tour here:

Gianna May Sanchez: Creating a Public-Facing Website for Hispanic Legacies of Route 66

Hello! I am happy and honored to be included among a group of fantastic scholars all participating in the Digital Six Shooter panel at this year’s WHA! I am Gianna May Sanchez, a pre-candidate Ph.D. history student at the University of Michigan. My research and interests primarily focus on the history of healthcare and folk medicine in the 20th century U.S. West, specifically examining experiences of reproduction and medicine for women and Latinx communities in the region. My work also includes public history and digital humanities projects, which range from short term endeavors (as featured in my Six Shooter presentation) to long term contracted positions with organizations like the Smithsonian Latino Center. My presentation, “Rerouting the Mother Road: Creating a Public-Facing Website for Hispanic Legacies of Route 66” will focus on a 2017 digital project with the National Park Service and Latino Heritage Internship Program about the history of Route 66 in New Mexico.

The digital project, a website titled “Sharing Our History: The Hispanic Legacy of Route 66 in New Mexico” is forthcoming and currently under review by the NPS National Trails Intermountain Region. This website highlights the Hispanic narrative of Route 66 in New Mexico, an underrepresented story within the mythicization of the Mother Road. The site also promotes a space for community members to share their stories and learn about the specifically New Mexican Hispanic experience that defined life on and along Route 66.

My participation in this project began in 2017 as an intern with the Latino Heritage Internship Program. Over the course of the summer, I worked with the research team, Angélica Sánchez-Clark, Frank Norris, and Kaisa Barthuli, to synthesize a cohesive narrative and develop a public website. This process incorporated historical analysis and interpretation of primary and secondary records with considerations toward audience engagement, accessibility, multimedia formatting, and copyright. The resulting guiding methodology leveraged museum interpretation and public scholarship best practices within postcolonial historical frameworks. Parts of Route 66—and other travel corridors in New Mexico—pass through historical and contemporary indigenous lands. A portion of the road further followed El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, a passageway widely used for Spanish colonization, trade, and movement throughout the region. The overarching narrative of “Sharing Our Histories” contends with this past, while also illuminating the lived experience of residents through oral histories, written accounts, and images.

On a more tangible level, my presentation will address the design and development decisions that influenced the creation of this site. The site platform, StoryMaps, provided a unique space to combine visual imagery with scrolling, narrative-based text. This interactive experience, while linear, provides multiple approaches for site visitors to engage with the material, from descriptive text to audio sound bites of New Mexico residents discussing their experience growing up and working on Route 66. With this in mind, I hope to address the multifaceted aspects that went into the development of this project from initial research stages to synthesizing a cohesive narrative to design and accessibility choices in the digital platform. Looking forward to the panel, and I hope to see you all there!