Last month, UC Merced Library and Merced County 4-H concluded an inaugural StoryMapping Project for students in grades 9-12. Designed to encourage participants to discover the value of historical archives, the project introduced young people to UC Merced’s University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) archive. Comprised of nearly 10,000 documents, booklets, letters, and photographs from the past 100+ years, the archive covers the range of research produced by UCCE and features documents about dairy, almonds, livestock, crop trials, youth development, nutrition, family consumer sciences, and much more.
Over the course of twelve weeks, participants formed questions based on their findings in the archive and learned how to conduct research using primary and secondary source materials. Project meetings also focused on ways students would apply their research results in the form of presentations. To do this, ArcGIS and StoryMap experts trained students on how to use these digital tools for creating and visually presenting maps and historical narratives. This process encouragedparticipants to exhibit digitized archival materials alongside their observations and analysis.
On May 12th, 4-H Ambassador Melanie P. presented her StoryMap to local stakeholders, family, and community members. Titled DHIA Records: A Brief History and what DHIA Records Are, Melanie’s project traces the Dairy Herd Improvement Association’s (DHIA) use of records to improve efficiency and management by tracking milk production, herd size, and breeding and feed records.
Her research uncovered information about early record keeping systems used by the Ferndale Cow Testing Association in Humboldt County and Melanie was able to compare them to contemporary DHIA records, including documents she used when purchasing her own heifers. The project serves as an excellent example of the ways in which archival materials not only represent the past, but inform our present. We thank Melanie and our other participants, teachers, and facilitators for their amazing work!
Check out Melanie’s StoryMap here!