History in Our Hands

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2012 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund
Minnesota Historical Society
End Date
June 2013
Activity Type
Digitization/Online Information Access
Counties Affected
Project Overview

This groundbreaking project is creating a new model for school field trips using mobile and web technologies to capitalize on the natural behaviors and learning styles of today's students. "History in Our Hands: the Field Trip for the 21st Century Learner," will demonstrate how museums can use technology to create self-directed, personalized, responsive field trip experiences that deepen students" connection to history while honing their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Launching in fall 2013 to students on field trips, "History in Our Hands" will first be used in the recently opened "Then Now Wow" exhibit. Upon entering the gallery, students will receive handheld devices pre-installed with the mobile application. The application will enhance students" experience and promote interaction with the physical exhibit by encouraging them to answer questions, solve problems and collect digital artifacts related to the exhibit and items in MHS's vast collections. These items will be stored in a student's "digital backpack," and can be accessed online long after the field trip is over, promoting further classroom study and post-visit projects. A "Classroom Toolkit" will also be available to help teachers incorporate the content from students" digital backpacks into future lessons and build on the fundamental strengths of field trips as supplements to classroom instruction. Society staff leveraged the initial research involved in creating "History in Our Hands," made possible by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, to earn a $449,000 national Leadership grant from the institute of Museum and Library Services in the fall of 2011.

Project Details

The Mobile Learning Project is entering the next phase of development of a mobile application that will allow students to investigate Minnesota history anywhere, any place and anytime, using their handheld mobile devices. In 2012, staff will complete a prototype of a mobile application called "History in our Hands" for the upcoming "Then Now Wow" exhibit. This technology will allow students to connect both the informal and the formal learning environments, and help them improve their skills and increase their knowledge. The technology will also allow students and teachers to capture items from the exhibit with their handheld mobile devices for use in the classroom, thereby extending the exhibit experience.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
Laws of Minnesota for 2011 Chapter 6, Article 4, Subdivision 5, Programs.
Appropriation Language

Programs. $4,800,000 the first year and $4,800,000 the second year are for programs and purposes related to the historical and cultural heritage of the state of Minnesota, conducted by the Minnesota Historical Society.

2012 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Direct expenses
Number of full time equivalents funded
Project Manager
First Name
Last Name
Organization Name
Minnesota Historical Society
Street Address
345 Kellogg Boulevard West
St. Paul
Zip Code
Administered By
Administered by

345 W. Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155