Friday, November 20, 2015

Board Game Jam- 11/13/15

In accord with the Public History class, which is designing their own board games around the American Civil War, the History Department and History Club held a Board Game Jam on a Friday afternoon in Friesdam Memorial Library. Several students and professors stopped by to try their hand at a variety of board games, from classic favorites like Risk, to new games involving the American underground railroad, and several others. A fun time was had by all, as they learned about new games while enjoying pizza and each other.

Stacks of board games and slices of pizza, 
a great combination.

Freedom, a board game pertaining to the 
American Underground Railroad

Students enjoying their board games.

Review of Rochester trip to Strong Museum & Nick Tahou's- by Carter Bunce

The History Club’s trip to the Strong National Museum of Play and Nick Tahou’s in Rochester on November 14th was a fun filled experience. The museum was full of not only interactive exhibits for young children, but also informative, and nostalgic exhibits about the history of all types of toys, card and board games, and video games from a wide range of topics and decades. As one who does not play video games it was neat seeing and gaining more information on the development of video games, from the first Nintendo sets, to the more modern Play Station and Wii devices, as well as learning more about the culture of the arcade. Many in the group commented on the wide variety of games and toys presented at the museum and how it made us all feel nostalgic for the games we played as children.
                Overall, the layout of the museum was very causal and well done. The various floors were dedicated to different topics, as some sections were dedicated to the history of the comic book, and another dedicated to Nintendo and its founding. Our trip coincided with Sci-Fi Day at the museum, so there were various Star Wars characters, such as Storm Troopers and Darth Vader, available for pictures, as well as tables set out selling Star Wars merchandise. The floor that was dedicated to the history of both board and electronic games had a full scale arcade where tokens could be purchased to play old school video games, like Pac-Man, and pinball. There were other games, like Jenga, paper football and Battleship, for visitors to interact with. Each exhibit also was accompanied by a small section dedicated to books and other literature dedicated to the topic being which could be read at the time or checked out to read at home. The museums layout made it very efficient for a group of our size, and interest to maximize the time spent exploring the museum in the short amount of time we had there.

                Our final destination before heading back to campus was a visit to the historic Nick Tahou’s, originator of the garbage plate and a Rochester specialty. The garbage plate is a messy concoction of meat, normally hamburgers or hotdogs, macaroni salad and home fries smothered in mustard, onions and meat sauce.  In keeping with the nature of the History Club it was enjoyable to go to a place that is such an historic and culinary staple in Rochester cuisine. For most in the group, it was their first ever garbage plate and their first time ever visiting the city of Rochester. Reflecting on the trip the entire group was satisfied with the experience of visiting the Strong Museum and Nick Tahou’s and was looking forward to further excursions with the History Club.

Group shot outside of Nick Tahou's 

Carter Bunce enjoying the exhibit on the history of Nintendo

History is happening all around us!

Nick Tahou's, birthplace of the 
garbage plate

Mmmm, looks good!

History Club hosts Trivia Night

On Thursday, November 12th, the St. Bonaventure History Club hosted it's second Trivia Night in Cafe La Verna. History professor Dr. Horowitz offered his services as the MC of the event. Over thirty undergrads answered questions pertaining to world history, geography, sports, pop culture, and Bonaventure history, with the top three teams coming away with gift cards to local restaurants. Congratulations to Andrew Bevevino, Cody Didas and Conor Wood on your first place finish!

Participants trying their hand at trivia.

Great turnout at Cafe La Verna!

Dr. Horowitz, the next Alex Trebek? 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Earnings by Majors

The Wall Street Journal has a chart of Salary Increase by Major that lets you see how majors do over time.  The good news is that humanities majors do well - a message often heard in our public and digital history classes where we emphasize that the best skill for the modern economy is the ability to adapt and learn.  That's the point in emphasizing game design, gamificiation, design and information architecture this semester in public history.  Of course, we're also doing the Civil War.  Next semester will see much of the same but adding in more digital tools such as GIS and web design.

The history major stats over time from the WSJ.  The first column is starting medium salary.  The second is mid career medium salary 10 years out followed by percent increase.

History $39,200.00 $71,000.00 81.1 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Designing Civil War Games

The public history class has entered into the final push to create an educational game based.  Today students pitched their ideas for a game, which led to the drawing below as we tried to work out how a game might reflect the experience of the 154th NY in Georgia.  Stay tuned...

Friday, November 6, 2015

Story Telling

Thursday Chris Mackowski of SBU's School of Journalism and Mass Communication discussed his book Fight Like the Devil:   The First Day at Gettysburg, July 1, 1863 and his work with the Emerging Civil War and the National Park Service.  The NY 154 saw action at Gettysburg and appears in his book. The discussion ranged far and wide but we kept returning to the importance of place, narrative and audience.

I failed to take pictures, so in place of a picture (not a good transition but I like the story) I'll include a piece from the Harvard Business Review.  The Best Data Storytellers Aren't Always Numbers People is about the continued importance of story telling and narrative in the age of big data.  This is something we discuss in the Digital History class (offered in the spring!) as we use tools like Google maps to tell stories. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Freedom: The Underground Railroad

Last class an unplanned game session broke out.  We've been talking about how to match theme, content, and game design.  In particular how does one deal with potentially sensitive topics, such as slavery, in a public history project.  Also, we want to think about the richness of the Civil War and not limit ourselves to war games (not that we have anything against war games).  Dennis brought in Freedom:  The Underground Railroad (click here for an interview with the designer) to show the class how one educational game designer had dealt with it in a cooperative game.  Once the game was explained, the next logical step was .... well, to play it.

Digital History

Next semester we're offering the History 419:  Digital History and Archival Practices.  We'll continue our work creating a digital map of the Bonaventure cemetery.

History Club Events

The History Club has some cool events on the horizon.

November 12th- Trivia Night in La Verna- 7 p.m. Come with a team of three to test your knowledge on trivia (not just history). Top three teams win gift card prizes. 

November 13th- Friedsam Library, 2-?. Board Game Day. Join the History Club in the basement of the library in a Board Game jam. Enjoy playing familiar and obscure board games with friends and professors while enjoying pizza. 

November 14th- 8-4 pm. Field trip to Strong National Museum of Play and Nick Tahou's.  Enjoy a day in Rochester visiting Rochester's National Museum of Play (It's Sci-Fi Day!) and later getting lunch at Nick Tahou's- birthplace of the Garbage Plate. Transportation will be provided, first come, first served. Free of charge.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Shannon Conheady's Blog

Shannon Conheady, history alum, is blogger about her experience on a Fullbright scholarship.  You can read her blog here.