Tag Archives: Raid on Deerfield

Raid on Deerfield: Online history done right

There are many things about the internet which I dislike intensely.  For one thing, it discourages disciplined, linear thought; it’s detrimental to the kind of careful, disciplined reading that’s critical to understanding something.

Still, this flexibility offers tremendous potential.  If you can harness the non-linear, layered, undirected nature of web browsing, then there’s an opportunity to create an in-depth learning experience that would be impossible in traditional media. 

If you want to see a fascinating example of online history at its best, head over to Raid on Deerfield: The Many Stories of 1704.  This marvelous website allows you to immerse yourself in the story of a devastating Indian attack on a Massachusetts town in the early eighteenth century.  A series of painted scenes reconstruct the event.  Roll your cursor over a scene, and you’ll discover that individual people, buildings, and objects in these images are portals to additional information.  Hyperlinks in the narrative provide as much or as little background information as you need.  Artifacts from the time period are used to illustrate key points.  Timelines, maps, and music put the story in perspective.

It’s difficult to explain this inventive use of technology in words, so click on the link and explore it for yourself.  The research is top-notch, and it’s a near-perfect adaptation of medium to message.

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Filed under Colonial America, History on the Web