Playing with the Past: A Digital History Toolkit

Drexel University College of Medicine Legacy Center Archives

2012
$199,700

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Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania students with skeletons, circa 1895. Courtesy of Drexel University College of Medicine Legacy Center Archives and Special Collections, Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania Photograph Collection.

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Carrie Pearson; Elizabeth Rae; Dr. Ella M. Russell; Dr. Stewart; Dr. Dunlap; Dr. Potter; Smith, R.N. Surgery amphitheater at the building on North College Avenue, January 1911. Image courtesy of the Drexel University College of Medicine Legacy Center's Archives and Special Collections.

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A critical time in a major operation holds the attention of the women medical students, February 24, 1947. The operating room is in the hospital of the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania. Image courtesy of the Drexel University College of Medicine Legacy Center's Archives and Special Collections.

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A memento of the dean's reception, held October 10, 1885. From left to right: Anandibai Joshee (India) graduated from the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania (WMC) in 1886; Kei Okami (Japan) graduated from WMC in 1889; Sabat Islambooly (Syria) graduated from WMC in 1890. Image courtesy of the Drexel University College of Medicine Legacy Center’s Archives and Special Collections.

The Legacy Center at Drexel is the repository for the records of Drexel's predecessor institution, the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania, established in 1850 as the first medical school for women. This archival collection, which includes primary sources such as correspondence, oral histories, diaries, and other materials, documents the many roles women have played and continue to play in the medical field, and reveals stories of women who courageously and successfully challenged the status quo in their time. Playing with the Past: A Digital History Toolkit, launching in 2014, will take materials from this vast collection—formerly accessible to researchers and scholars only—and make them available online to new audiences, including high school students and teachers. This project will offer online learning tools that demystify archival history through guided discovery. Users will act as "history detectives" and uncover stories that resonate with their own lives, sifting through documents, listening to audio footage, and examining images with magnifying tools. Legacy Center staff will keep the toolkit consistently updated, and will incorporate feedback gained from student and teacher project "ambassadors" who will generate project interest through their respective social networks. The toolkit is expected to double the Legacy Center's web traffic and to inspire and empower a new generation of learners.