Faithful readers here may note some long, substantive comments from another “Ed,” who is connected with the Open History Project, it turns out. I’ve linked to the OHP before, but not often enough. It really is a treasure trove.
For example, there is a page of links to computer/internet media works. Included there is a fascinating animation from the British site accompanying what was a PBS Masterpiece Theatre program in the U.S. from Charles Dickens’ novel, Bleak House. The animation, by a creative crew called Rufflebrothers (Mark and Tim Ruffle), covers the life of Charles Dickens. As a simple cartoon, it’s droll — notice Dickens’ siblings dropping dead in an early scene. As a piece of history pedagoguery, it’s brilliant. [It’s Flash animation, and I can’t copy it to paste a sample.]
(I can’t find this animation on the PBS website for Bleak House — but there is another, simpler timeline, covering Dickens and more authors.)
Watch the British animation of Dickens’ life, then go back and take it scene by scene. A pocket watch allows you to see what else was happening in history at that moment. Careful linking allows you to get much more detail — in the scene where his siblings are shown dying (as they did, in fact), the feature gives the details of each of Charles’ brothers and sisters, opening a door of new understanding for the inspiration of the characters in Dickens’ work (It was originally Tiny Fred? Really? After Dickens’ younger brother Frederick?).
Imagine such an animation for the life of George Washington, or for the life of Abraham Lincoln, or Henry Ford, Queen Victoria, Sam Houston, Mark Twain, Theodore Roosevelt, or Albert Einstein.
What in the world can we do to encourage BBC to do more like this? Who else can get in on the act?
What other treasures await you at the Open History Project?