This is part 2 of 4 of my list of 92 people, groups, and projects that made me grateful and teary in 2019.
24. Kirsten Thorpe and the community developing and supporting Mukurtu. Mukurtu is an open source platform designed for preserving indigenous archives and culture. “Mukurtu is/are already being used by Native American communities to store and preserve digital archives, and Kirsten Thorpe – now a senior researcher at the Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research at UTS – is involved in making Mukurtu more widely accessible in Australia.”
(Gordon, Nina Maile, and Creagh, Sunanda. “Mukurtu: an online dilly bag for keeping Indigenous digital archives safe.” The Conversation, April 15, 2019.”
25. Renée Ater. Renée Ater is a 2018 Getty Scholar and an associate professor emerita of the history of art at the University of Maryland, College Park. She has been researching monuments to the slave past in the United States, and is turning her research into a digital project.
(Yapa, Chelika. “Creating a Digital Museum to Memorialize America’s Slave Past.” The Iris, April 25, 2019.)
26. John Meissner. John Meissner preserves the culture and heritage of Colorado by hunting down postcards from the Sanborn Souvenir Company. The group he founded, Estes Park Archives, has spent “into the six figures” collecting the postcards. A book and digital archive are in the works.
(Nick, Stacy. “Citizen Historians Hunt Down Rare Postcards, Pieces Of Colorado’s Past.” KUNC, April 29, 2019.)
27. Christina Pearson, Priscilla Sharp, CeCe Moore, and the “DNA Search Angels”. The Internet and consumer-level genetic testing kits have made it more possible than ever for adopted children to find their birth parents. The DNA Search Angels take the information from these resources and turn it into reunions.
(Schwartz, Oscar. “DNA search angels: the Facebook ‘detectives’ who help reunite families.” The Guardian, April 29, 2019.)
28. Mati Kochavi and his daughter Maya. The two created “Eva Stories,” a 70-episode Instagram story about the Holocaust from the perspective of a teenage girl. It’s based on the 1944 diary of Eva Heyman. The project is undeniably moving but extremely controversial.
(Kershner, Isabel. “A Holocaust Story for the Social Media Generation.” The New York Times, April 30, 2019. )
29. Sudanese women entrepreneurs. Some Sudanese women are using social media like Facebook and smartphones to work as entrepreneurs trading goods like clothing and beauty accessories from their home. They get the freedom to work and trade around the expectations of Sudan’s culture.
(Steel, Griet. “Sudanese women are using social media to trade – and break gender barriers.” The Conversation, May 5, 2019.)
30. BigSurHatesYou. This former Instagram account (it appears to be defunct) was, like PublicLandsHatesYou, a pushback against irresponsible tourism. Specifically it was for California’s “Central Coast” region.
(Bhattacharjee, Riya. “‘Big Sur Hates You’: Instagram Account Seeks to Educate Tourists Breaking the Rules.” NBC Bay Area, May 10, 2019.)
31. Tech support kids. Students all over the country are providing support to students and teachers alike as more and more devices are used in the classroom. And it’s necessary: “In 2018, 59% of high schools and 63% of middle schools reported that each of their students had access to their own device, an annual survey by the Consortium for School Networking found, up from 53% and 56%, respectively, in 2017. Elementary schools with 1:1 programs, which supply each student with a device, increased from 25% to 29%.”
(Thompson, Carolyn. “Student ‘geek squads’ maintain school devices, help teachers.” Phys.org, May 10, 2019.)
32. Ko Aung Soe Min. Ko Aung Soe Min is working to save the history and culture of Myanmar (also known as Burma.) He has collected materials and put on shows that he calls the “Open History Project.” “Many Myanmar people agree that some semblance of traditional culture, storytelling and artistic creation is being lost as the older generation fades. The show is intended to throw light on the many preceding decades which have otherwise been little documented.”
(Wa, Phoe. “Open History project.” Myanmar Times, May 17, 2019.)
33. Carl Malamud and the Servants of Knowledge. Carl Malamud is a hero that everybody should know about. There’s so much to say I’ll just pull this quote. “Carl has the distinction of having put the White House on the internet for the first time way back in 1993, during the tenure of President Bill Clinton. He also fought a long legal battle with various government bodies in the US – the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), to name a few – to put out information about them in the public domain. His efforts led to a lot of information, earlier seen as inaccessible to the general public, being made available to the public for free.” Now he and the Servants of Knowledge are trying to make more information free and accessible in India.
(Thimmaya, Poojary. “Meet the American who is creating a high-quality digital public library in India.” YourStory, May 30, 2019.)
34. Paul Lyons. In the 1990s, Paul Lyons literally went through trash cans to rescue the archives that QTV television was throwing out, then hid them so they wouldn’t be discovered and discarded. “The archive comprised more than 5,000 video tapes and more than 250,000 feet (76,000 metres) of 16mm film. The thousands of hours of footage include the city’s first television broadcast of 1962, Queen Elizabeth’s visit in 1970 and the devastation of Cyclone Althea in 1971.” Now that material will be digitized and made available online.
(Fernbach, Nathalie. “Townsville cameraman Paul Lyons awarded for rescuing historical film archive.” ABC News, June 2, 2019.)
35. Austin Chiang and the health professionals fighting misinformation and disinformation on social media. Austin Chiang is recruiting other doctors and health care professionals to push against the misinformation and disinformation on social media. He has launched hashtag campaigns and also started a new group, “Association for Healthcare Social Media.”
(Farr, Christina. “This doctor is recruiting an army of medical experts to drown out fake health news on Instagram and Twitter.” CNBC, June 2, 2019.)
36. Sanam Sindhi. Sanam Sindhi is curator of an Instagram account called South Asia Archive that captures different examples of beauty in South Asia. “This Instagram account is a place where you can learn about the African diaspora in India or simply be inspired by South Asian tattoo traditions and jewellery details.”
(Canjemanaden, Jessica. “Sanam Sindhi Is Spotlighting South Asian Beauty.” Dazed Beauty, June 8, 2019.)
37. Manny Oliver. Manny Oliver lost a son in the Parkland school shootings of February 14, 2018. Now he is crowdsourcing items — everyday items — from the families of gun violence victims. His effort is to build the online Museum of Incomplete.
(Truesdell, Jeff. “Parkland Dad Gathers ‘Incomplete’ Items Left Behind by Victims to Show Devastation of Gun Violence.” People, June 10, 2019.)
38. Donald Campbell and Ron Moten. Donald Campbell is a business owner in Washington DC who was forced to turn off the “go-go” music which had played in front of his store for decades. (This is not the 1960s, flip hair, white boots go-go you might be thinking of; it’s something else.) He and Ron Moten, a local activist, are working to preserve the cultural heritage of Washington DC and this musical genre.
(Williams, Elliot. “How Can We Preserve Go-Go’s History?” The Washingtonian, June 13, 2019.)
39. Paddy Curtis. Paddy Curtis is a butcher in Ireland. Many years ago, a woman brought in some photos that were being discarded and he put them up in the butcher shop window. That started a long tradition of community photo sharing and copying. “It was Curtis who laid the groundwork for the East Wall History Group, says [Joe] Mooney. ‘He’s provided an invaluable service to the community of East Wall. If they hadn’t of been preserved, the story of the community and these images of times gone past and people long gone, we just wouldn’t have them,’ he says.”
(Finnan, Sean. “How a Butcher Amassed a Photo Archive for East Wall.” Dublin InQuirer, June 12, 2019)
40. Julie and Alex Aitken and Outback Grave Markers. The Outback Grave Markers travel Western Australia (WA), documenting and placing plaques at remote graves. This year the group launched a Web site that aggregated its travels and research.
(Verhagen, Shannon. “Grave markers’ work available on website.” The West Australian, June 18, 2019.)
41. Randy McCrory, Jason McCrory, Fred Coffee, John Skaggs, and Gary Black. These five people have built an online museum for the city of Bentonville, Arkansas. It has plenty of photography and history of the area.
(Martin-Brown, Becca. “History In The Cloud.” Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, June 30, 2019.)
42. Joel Quizon and Maya Santos. These two are working together on a digital archive of “memories and tales” from immigrants. The project started in Los Angeles’ Chinatown, but will expand to Little Tokyo, Koreatown, and other places.
(Stuart, S.C. “#Talkstorytalkplace Project Wants a Digital Archive of LA’s Chinatown.” PC Magazine, July 6, 2019.)
43. Don Rowlands. Don Rowlands is a Wangkangurru Yarluyandi elder and senior ranger for Munga-Thirri National Park in Queensland, Australia. He is working to turn his 25 years of experience and discovery in Munga-Thirri into a database to pass his knowledge to the next generation. “I want to do my people proud. I want to do my grandfather Watti Watti, proud.”
(Atkinson, Bruce. “Indigenous ranger’s quest to preserve Simpson Desert knowledge and 60,000-year-old history of his people.” ABC News, July 7, 2019.)
44. Soňa Juríková. Soňa Juríková wanted emojis that more reflected Czech life and culture. After trying to revamp current emoji, she designed her own set of 180 “Czemoji,” which include mushrooms, birds, and many different kinds of beer.
(McEnchroe, Tom. “Beer, Schnitzel And Mushroom Picking – Unique Set Of Emojis Captures Czech Soul.” Radio Prague International, July 9, 2019.)
45. Darius Kazemi. Darius Kazemi has built this deep dive / manual / book / guide / Web site / thing about running your own small social network. He’s updated it at least once since I first wrote about it. This was one of two “how-to” projects that really blew my mind this year for useful information and detail. (The other was DJ Kippax’ super-deep dive on how to bulk-rip vinyl records. It was eliminated when I edited down my list, and I’m glad to sneak it in here because it at least deserves an honorable mention.)
(Calishain, Tara. “Darius Kazemi Launches Run Your Own Social Instructional Site.” ResearchBuzz Firehose, July 9, 2019.)
46. Ratnasabapathy Ponnaiah, Aarthiya Sathiyamoorthy, T. Koyilaar Sivasaamy, and the conservationists of Sri Lanka. Palmyrah leaf manuscripts have been passed on through generations of families in Sri Lanka. Ponnaiah, Sathiyamoorthy, and Sivasaamy are working to both save the manuscripts and the knowledge and history they contain.
(Balagobalan, Poongulaly. “How Sri Lankans Are Preserving History, One Manuscript At a Time.” Global Press Journal, July 12, 2019.)