This semester, 18 students with an interest in communication and the history of Wesleyan University created a new website, “A Spatial History of Wesleyan University.”
The students, who were enrolled in the spring 2015 course, Digital History, conceived, designed, built, publicized, and launched this site. The class was taught by Amrys O. Williams, a visiting assistant professor of history, and was part of the university’s Digital and Computational Knowledge Initiative.
A Spatial History of Wesleyan University combines geographical and quantitative analysis with archival and oral history research to interpret the past in place. By studying the history of Wesleyan’s campus landscape and buildings alongside the university’s enrollment, tuition, and student body, website visitors can see the connections between the cultural life of the university and its physical environment.
The site has four main sections:
- A historical narrative offers an overview of the major periods and episodes in the campus’s history, tracing student life, housing, and athletics, as well as the university’s changing educational mission and its relationship to other liberal arts schools in the area.
- An interactive map allows readers to select and view different historical maps and aerial photographs of campus, learn more about individual buildings and see how the campus expanded over time.
- A “By the Numbers” series of graphs trace data about enrollment, tuition and endowment over time, offering insights into the financial and demographic shifts that affected the shape and experience of campus.
- Oral history video clips enrich these chronological, spatial, and quantitative stories with the voices of members of the Wesleyan community and their lived experiences of campus.