Author: Peter

Small town cyber-historian, making his way through a world so (c)old...

The First Day of School (or Changing Careers is Hard!)

My last day of “school” was in 2012. It wasn’t the “last” strictly speaking, but it marked an ending of sorts. I sat in a professor’s office at the University of Washington. An old, old man was frowning at me from behind a big, cluttered desk, a wall of books behind him. He was explaining […]

Fernand Braudel

A Data Minin’ Man

One of the first people who got me really excited about the prospect of being a professional historian was Fernand Braudel. This is a bit of a stretch. Like trying karaoke because you heard Aretha Franklin sing. But inspiration is inspiration, right? Besides composing his first book from a Nazi POW camp (!) Braudel leaned […]

Mapping History

ArcGIS StoryMaps feel like peak digital humanities. Certainly when you watch Esri’s introductory event – “Live from Silicon valley, it’s another fabulous product launch!” – the mind is taken to a host of other events that bear these trappings: a dark stage, a glittering logo, a host who seems lost in the uncanny valley. But […]

That One Video About the Salish Sea

How hard could a 3 minute video be? Turns out, less video means more time spent writing, rewriting, recording, and discarding only to start the whole process all over again. There’s something extremely difficult about distilling information down into a concise introduction. At some point the distillations become omissions – anathema to the historian. I’m […]

famous liar baron von munchausen

Podcasts: Please, Please Subscribe!

In elementary school, I participated in a program called Book It!® (and it’s still live! Sign up your kids!) Everyone in my class got a (totally badass) button with spots for stickers indicating how many books we’d finished reading, and for every completed button you earned 1 free personal pan pizza from the friendly folks […]

A History of Unnamed Persons

The story of the Pig War is a story of diplomacy. Or a story of imperialism. Or geography. It’s a story about a thing not happening. A path not taken, while a thousand other paths were irrevocably being taken. And what sort of history is this? A National Park was established on San Juan Island […]

The Art of Archive iPhone Photography

My family has a long tradition of scanning my grandparent’s titanic collection of slides using a specially built slide scanner. In terms of numbers, we’re talking at least 10,000 slides. You would delicately extract each minuscule slide from its case, place it in the scanner, press a button, wait 2 seconds, and then repeat. This […]

The Invisible Museum

There’s an interesting relationship between historical information and the audiences intended to receive it. The transmission of that information is a phenomenon that encompasses a wide range of interactions: lecturing teachers, popular history books, museums of all shapes and sizes, and now, mobile apps. It’s weird to slot the app experience into this pre-existing assortment […]

Humanities 2.0

I woke up in Spokane to rain. A wet, cold day to mark the beginning of Fall. I reached for my phone and swiped through digital spaces for a respite from waking. On the last app of my digital routine – Reddit – I encountered a livestream. A user in Kenya was broadcasting his walk […]