Dana Lee Bell JOTPY Portfolio


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Dana Lee Bell JOTPY Portfolio

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The JOTPY archives rapidly developed while the Covid-19 pandemic was still new for all of us. I was one of the original interns who joined HST580 as the class, and the archives were being developed. Although, I am not interested in pursuing public history as a career, I was hoping to learn a little bit about public history so I could share what I learned with my own students. Through the internship I gained experience in curating, data collection, addressing silences, community outreach, ethics, and producing oral histories.
One of my passions during the internship has been documenting social justice issues in the United States during the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic locked us all away inside and pulled the day-to-day agenda away. It became unavoidable during the pandemic but to pay attention to the realities in the States, even those realities some of us were able to comfortably ignore before. For many, social justice issues in America surpassed the urgency of the Covid-19 pandemic. I personally felt an urgency to record the pluralities of the pandemic and the fight for equality in the United States within the archive. The Social Justice collection within the archive grew with submissions from all backgrounds and walks of life. They shed light on both the pandemic and social justice, and how it affected them. I also worked with a team to create the Social Justice Voices in North America exhibition. The collection was designed to amplify the voices of those who fought for social justice during the pandemic.
This experience has taught me many skills that I am able to bring my students as an educator. I now understand the large-scale collaborative effort that a rapid response archive requires. I can explain to my students the ethics of information collection, what silences are, and how public historians of today work hard to bridge the gaps in archival accessibility, and this was not always so.
This experience has been more fulfilling than I originally expected. I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to make close connections with other interns. I have learned so much from them. I hope to stay in contact with them.

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