Professors Connolly and Seefeldt Visit Cody, Wyoming for Digital Research Project

IMG_0181Back in mid-June, Ball State University Department of History faculty members Jim Connolly and Doug Seefeldt, along with their colleague John Fillwalk from the IDIA Lab, visited Cody, Wyoming to establish a grant partnership to research and develop “Virtual Buffalo Bill’s Wild West” with the Papers of William F. Cody at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. Initially funded by a BSU ADVANCE Proposal Development Program award, the project will develop in virtual, three-dimensional form, the most popular public spectacle in the U.S. at the turn of the 20th century, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World, an international traveling exhibition that visited Muncie, Indiana on three separate occasion between 1899-1908. It will include live and scripted interpretive animations, as well as avatar-driven role-playing exercises that explore social dynamics circa 1890-1910. Users, acting through avatars, may for example purchase a ticket, watch and listen to the Buffalo Bill Band on the midway, and witness a performance by Annie Oakley. They will also encounter interpretations of social experience, such as popular reactions to Native American, Mexican, or African-American performers. While in Wyoming, in addition to visiting significant sites associated with William F. Cody like Yellowstone National Park, Connolly, Fillwalk, and Seefeldt made a presentation to the Buffalo Bill Museum Advisory Board that laid out the project and proposed a collaboration with Museum staff. This presentation resulted in a commitment of $25,000 in matching funds from the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.

The Virtual Buffalo Bill’s Wild West, while a stand-alone project, will be associated with the larger Virtual Middletown initiative, a recreation of Muncie, Indiana during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries based on the research presented in Middletown (1929). Virtual Middletown’s intent is to document in new ways the emergence of industrial society, focusing on the six areas of activity highlighted in Middletown research: work, home life, education, religion, leisure, and civic life. The Virtual Wild West module will serve as the leisure experience for the 1890s period. Connolly and Fillwalk have previously developed an initial version of this approach in a reconstruction of the Ball Brothers Glassmaking Company factory circa 1925, a prototype that experimented with approaches to embedding digitized sources within the virtual world and developing a web-based archive of original source material, including video, text, and photographs.

History graduate student Sadie Ritchie began working with professors Connolly and Seefeldt in May to identify some 200 pieces of supporting primary materials related to Buffalo Bill’s Wild West that will be used to create an accompanying digital archive of textual and visual material. The three of them also collaborated to produce several conceptual frameworks for organizing the materials in ways that can be effectively integrated with the virtual world. While there are innumerable examples of rich digital archives and a growing number of virtual worlds designed for scholarly purposes, the integration of the two remains a technical and design challenge, one that Connolly, Fillwalk, and Seefeldt propose to meet by developing the Virtual Buffalo Bill’s Wild West module in a robust and innovative way. The research, archive creation, and virtual world development will continue during the 2014-15 academic year.

Professor Seefeldt Awarded Harvard Fellowship

In an unexpected, but very welcome phone call to his office phone minutes before class last spring, Ball State University Department of History faculty member Douglas Seefeldt was informed that he had been awarded a research fellowship to Harvard University’s Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History for the 2014-15 academic year. Founded in 1965, the Charles Warren Center commemorates the distinguished lawyer and legal historian (Harvard class of 1889) through its mission to advance research in a broad range of American historical inquiry. The Warren Center has, over the nearly fifty years of its existence, brought hundreds of fellows to Harvard, of which Seefeldt is among the eight most recent to be so honored.

Joining Professor Seefeldt are new colleagues from Northeastern University, Columbia IMG_0424University, New York University, M.I.T., and Harvard University. Organized around a broad annual theme in American history, the 2014-15 theme is “Multimedia History and Literature: New Directions in Scholarly Design”.This is also the title of a year-long graduate seminar that the fellows participate in led by Harvard faculty Vincent Brown from the Department of History and African and African American Studies, and Glenda R. Carpio, from the Department of English and African American Studies. Professor Seefeldt will spend the year working on his Digital History research projects and aligned print publications, including “The Mountain Meadows Massacre in American Memory,” that combines an interactive scholarly work that is a hybrid of archival materials related to the 1857 event and digital tool components that help visualize historiographically significant concerns in local Mormon, Utah, and broader western and American histories.

Professor Seefeldt and his family have relocated to the Cambridge, MA area for the year and are learning their way around Boston via public transportation while enjoying a pleasant New England fall!

Department Recognitions

Our department was presented the Indiana History Outstanding Event or Project Award by the Indiana Historical Society in 2009. We received the award for our exceptional commitment to elementary school social studies education.

The project provides in-service training to elementary school teachers through free workshops, weeklong seminars in towns across the state, and field trips to Indiana State Historic Sites. It also gives community support to nonprofit cultural institutions who work with elementary classes by enlisting its students to create educational materials such as lesson plans and primary source packets. In addition, it has developed media products—such as programs on DVD—to directly support elementary classroom teachers.

Faculty Grants

Grant: “Ports-of-Trade, Maritime Diasporas, and Networks of Trade and Cultural Integration in the Bay of Bengal Region of the Indian Ocean: c. 1000-1500,” 

Author: Kenneth Hall
Publish Date: Saturday, September 20, 2008
University of Leiden Research Fellowship: 2008


Grant: Public History Internship Grant (3 Years: 2006-2009) 
Author: Michael Doyle
Publish Date: Tuesday, June 17, 2008
This grant, funded by the Minnetrista Cultural Center, provides resources for public history interns.


Grant: Publication of the History of Maxon Corporation 12/06
Author: Bruce Geelhoed
Publish Date: Tuesday, June 17, 2008 
This study covers the history of Maxon Corporation from 1916 to 2006.


Grant: The Immigrant as Hero: National Identity, Social Cohesion, and the Challenges of Assimilation in Modern France 
Author: Christopher Thompson
Publish Date: Tuesday, January 15, 2008 
Faculty Research grant awarded to Dr. Christopher Thompson 
Value of Grant: $15, 270


Grant: Short Term Travel Grant 
Author: Sergei Zhuk
Publish Date: Tuesday, January 15, 2008 
An external grant sponsored by the International Research and Exchanges Board 
Value of Grant: $5,381


Grant: From Service to Memory to Archives 
Author: Michael Doyle
Publish Date: Tuesday, January 15, 2008
An external grant sponsored by the Cantigny First Division Foundation
Value of Grant: $50,000


Grant: Muncie’s Response to Recent Economic Change: An Oral History 
Author: James Connolly
Publish Date: Monday, October 15, 2007
Awarded by the Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County
Value of Grant: $4,700


Grant: Organized Labor in Muncie: An Oral History 
Author: James Connolly
Publish Date: Monday, October 15, 2007
Awarded by the Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County
Value of Grant: $4,700


Grant: DVD Project for Highway US 31 
Author: Ronald Morris
Publish Date: Monday, January 15, 2007
An external grant sponsored by the Indiana Department of Transportation
Value of Grant: $80,518


Grant: DVD Supplement to Textbook 
Author: Ronald Morris
Publish Date: Monday, January 15, 2007 
An external grant sponsored by Prentice Hall/Merrill Education
Value of Grant: $4,424


Grant: Chartist Readers: Print, Oral Culture, and Democracy, 1830-1860
Author: Robert Hall
Publish Date: Monday, January 15, 2007
An external grant sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities
Value of Grant: $5,000


Grant: Maxon Corporation Corporate History, 1997-2006 
Author: Bruce Geelhoed
Publish Date: Monday, January 15, 2007
An external grant sponsored by the Maxon Corporation
Value of Grant: $14,989

Faculty Awards 1975 – 2009

Jason Powell
C. Warren Vander Hill Award for
Distinguished Teaching in Honors Education
2008-2009
Anthony Edmonds
Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award
1996
Christopher Thompson
Excellence in Teaching Award
2008
Anthony Edmonds
University Teaching Professor
1996
Carolyn Malone
Lawhead Teaching Award in the Core Curriculum
2008
Glenda Riley
Outstanding Research Award
1995
Kevin Smith
Outstanding Faculty Service Award
2004
Nina Mjagkij
Outstanding Junior Faculty Award             1995
Anthony Edmonds
Lawhead Teaching Award in the Core Curriculum
2004
 John Barber
University Teaching Professor
1995
Lawrence Birken
C. Warren Vander Hill Award for
Distinguished Teaching in Honors Education
2004
 Anthony Edmonds
University Teaching Professor
1992
Daniel Goffman
C. Warren Vander Hill Award for
Distinguished Teaching in Honors Education
2003
 John Barber
University Teaching Professor
1990
Christopher Thompson
University Teaching Professor
2002
 Morton Rosenberg
Outstanding Faculty Service Award
1987
Abel Alves
Lawhead Teaching Award in the Core Curriculum         2000
 Andrew Cayton
Outstanding Junior Faculty Award
1986
Anthony Edmonds
C. Warren Vander Hill Award for
Distinguished Teaching in Honors Education
1999
 Richard Wires
Outstanding Faculty Service Award
1983
Joan Schreiber
Outstanding Faculty Service Award
1997
 John Koumoulides
Outstanding Research Award
1983
John Barber
Eugene Asher Award for Distinguished Teaching
(Awarded by the American Historical Association)
1997
Anthony Edmonds
Outstanding Teaching Award
1982
John Barber
Lawhead Teaching Award in the Core Curriculum
1997
 Dwight Hoover
Outstanding Research Award
1978
John Weakland
Outstanding Faculty Service Award
1996
Everett Ferrill
Outstanding Faculty Service Award
1976
Kevin Smith
Outstanding Junior Faculty Award
1996
John Barber
Outstanding Teaching Award
1975