In 2013, I requested a departmental work assignment to the “UI Humanities Story Corps,” a project that a few Iowa faculty members had launched a couple of years before. It focused on conducting oral history interviews with Iowa humanities faculty and students, and was intended to demonstrate some of the ways in which humanities scholarship is relevant to everyday life. Another graduate student and I built upon the foundation laid by the Humanities Story Corps, creating something we now call the History Corps.
For the last two years, I have been a driving force behind a collaborative effort aimed at making the History Corps a digital repository for web-based teaching and research, and for posterity’s sake, a record of what the UI History Department was up to in the early 2000s. Working with a team of talented graduate students and our faculty advisor, History Corps conducts oral history projects and curates online, museum-style digital exhibits aimed at bringing regional history to life. Our work is based on the development of long-term, reciprocal collaborations with community partners and UI instructors.