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About My Hudson History

Why did this project begin?

The My Hudson History (MHH) project began when Sophia Acquisto, a Hudson Valley native, was studying history education at SUNY New Paltz in 2020.

 

She noticed how unengaged young students were with traditional, dry, unrelatable U.S. history lectures and broad mainstream narratives. History books in most public school classrooms either completely left out voices of underrepresented cultures, or only told stories of oppression and being treated inferior before returning to the mainstream narrative.

 

Acquisto realized that students needed to be able to see themselves in the stories they read, and in positive representations, in order to enjoy, engage with, and learn history.

About My Hudson History

How did this project begin?

In 2021, Sophia Acquisto began researching and building a digital map that would allow students, educators, and public residents to learn about the Hudson Valley's rich history and culture. Users would be able to find specific sites in their community that personally interest them and connect them to broader narratives.

Acquisto was granted two Academic Year Undergraduate Research Experience awards and one Summer Undergraduate Research Experience award from SUNY New Paltz to complete her research of New York's Hudson Valley that would be the basis of the map. She was mentored by Chrissy O'Grady and Jennifer Rutner, two librarians from SUNY New Paltz's Sojourner Truth Library experienced in digital humanities projects.

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My Hudson History
Today

The Culmination of the Research

After sorting through countless records from state museums, local museums and historical organizations, cemeteries, libraries, newspapers, texts, and other digital archives, the map was created with over 940 sites. Each is succinctly summarized, categorized, subcategorized, sourced, color-coded, and mapped.

The demo is currently a free custom Google map. If you would like to support her development of the app, please visit the contact page.

Since creating MHH, educators ranging from elementary school to higher ed have enjoyed experimenting with the map in class and personally. Acquisto presented her work at SUNY New Paltz's Student Symposium and the Keystone Digital Humanities Conference at Johns Hopkins University. She was awarded the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence in recognition of her contribution to New York State's public education.

Acquisto graduated SUNY New Paltz with her history education degree in 2022. She is pursuing an M.A. in Computing in Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Acquisto expects to graduate in 2024 and begin a doctoral program to further research on the importance of a local history curriculum and how digital mapping can support it.

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