Getting the Picture
After a Comegy’s Bight fellowship helped him learn how to present history digitally, Nicholas Pace ’14 has a clearer focus on his future.
Nicholas Pace ’14 loves the “story” part of history. And in the digital age, he says, the way we tell stories is changing.
“My personal belief is that the future of teaching history is digital media,” says Pace, who is majoring in history and American studies with a minor in drama. “If you were to ask students, would they rather watch a 20-minute video, a mini-documentary, that draws them into the story, or read 10 to 50 pages in a textbook, I think you can guess the answer.”
As a 2013 Comegys Bight Fellow at The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in New York, Pace worked last summer for Lance Warren, director of digital projects. His job included everything from screening videos of lectures by historians in order to index them for the website to helping create a documentary for the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.
“Gilder Lehrman is at the forefront of adapting new technologies to teaching history,” Pace says.
Pace learned to use editing software to craft videos for the website and learned to upload completed videos so visitors can watch them. But the best part of the summer was the week he spent with his mentor in Washington filming the March on Washington documentary. It features not only historic photos and videos Pace found through the Library of Congress and the National Archives, but also interviews he and Warren filmed in D.C. of Stanford history professor and Martin Luther King scholar, Dr. Clayborne Carson, lecturing about that pivotal occasion in Civil Rights history. “The March on Washington: A Virtual Tour” can be found at http://www.gilderlehrman.org/multimedia - 97363.
“Before I did this internship, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my history degree,” says Pace. “I just knew that I liked it and thought I’d go to graduate school, maybe teach. But seeing how public history works, thanks to Gilder Lehrman, has given me a new focus.”
Pace was among ten Washington College students who benefited last summer from the Comegys Bight Fellowship Program, offered by the College’s C.V. Starr Center for the American Experience. Established in 2003 by Drs. Thomas and Virginia Collier of Chestertown, the program pairs students with curators and directors at distinguished national institutions where they gain hands-on experience in fully paid positions that can launch them into their careers. To learn more about fellowship opportunities for 2014, visit http://www.washcoll.edu/centers/starr/comegys-bight-summer-fellowship-program.php.