Tag Archives: Western

“21 Brothers” Screening


Interested in film? Interested in the First World War? Interested in historical films? Saturday April 12th at 7pm is a must attend event sponsored by the HGSA – Western University and Western – Department of History!

21 Brothers is the “Longest One-Shot Film in History”

Come out for a free screening of the movie followed by discussion and refreshments with the director Mike McGuire.

Check out the poster for more details.


A snag…

Since my last post, I have come to find out that my idea was far too lofty. That being said, my professor suggested I try using a MakeyMakey and a cardboard hand with painted nails as the controller for my Nail Polish History exhibit. I took his idea and ran with it!

I chose to use brass fasteners as the conductive part of the hand. They will allow me to connect with the MakeyMakey alligator clips and trigger a command on my Max 6 patch. This will show a video, text, and/or a photo related to nail polish history.

Check out my cardboard hand controller progress below:






I thought that the hand looked rather boring so I decided to add something into my project that I love.. HENNA! I looked up some designs online and freehand drew them on the hand.





TA DA! The almost finished product! Tomorrow I will meet with my professor and work on connecting the MakeyMakey and plugging in the content to the Max 6 patch.



In digital history this week, we were fortunate enough to learn from David Brown about an interesting Graph Database Management System called Sylva.

Even though I felt like this:

It was a very interesting system to test out. My only experience with entering data into a database for other people to use is at the Oxford Historical Society in Woodstock where I entered Probates of Will into an Excel spreadsheet. Excel isn’t the easiest to work with, sometimes your work disappears and you have to start again. During the brief, yet thorough, tutorial we were provided, David showed us how entering data into the system is rather straight forward and that it is laid out nicely in a visualization. Sylva uses points and edges to draw connections between the data which Carla Watson pointed out, was very similar to my favourite non-digital learning tool: mind-maps. They help you visually represent the content and use short phrases or words to help you remember what it is you are studying. Mind-maps link the information that is related and can easily be expanded to fit more. The Sylva database works a lot like that, by having never ending space for you to add more and more edges and individual points. It also allows you to link ideas in more than one direction if another link is necessary to make the connection. I’m glad that even my old high school study ideas of making mind-maps to connect pertinent information can still relate to the hi-tech big data world of Sylva.

I enjoyed the tutorial, even though it went a little over my head. I can’t wait until I become an expert at inputting data into Sylva and can show everyone my awesome visualizations!

So Much to Learn

Finally, something related to technology that excites me! After I watched this video, I felt like I should be innovating and creating like the people at Google have over the last 12-ish years. Of course I will never be a tech analyst or a computer programmer, but the idea that you can keep building on what you already have and keep making it better and better struck a chord with me. I think being part of the Public History program at Western is allowing me to build on my limited skill set and give me the confidence with various different mediums that I did not possess before. Only being a month into classes, I feel like I have learned more than I ever could have expected to learn in such a short period of time. Being able to try new things and experiment without a penalty has allowed me to feel more comfortable trying different computer programs and apps. We are asked to ‘play’ with different computer programs, sites, and applications for our Digital History class each week, most of the things we have tried so far like Google Ngram, Serendip-o-matic, the Wayback Machine and even RSS feeds I had never dabbled with before. It is difficult to describe in words the feeling of being so excited to just experience more all the time but also scared that you won’t remember everything you are having the opportunity learn. For some strange reason, maybe it was the background music of the video or the fact that I was so happy for the people in the video that got to be a part of the innovations that Google Maps has produced, I want to do more. I want to get better at the things I can already do and master those things that I was far too nervous to try in the past. There is so much more for me to discover!