NCPH 2019 Digital Public History Lab: Build Your Own Public History Story Map

The National Council on Public History held its annual meeting here in Hartford, Connecticut, and organizers invited me to participate in their half-day hands-on workshop, the Digital Public History Lab. Fionnuala Darby-Hudgens (Trinity Class of ‘13, now Community Outreach and Education Coordinator at the CT Fair Housing Center) and Ilya Ilyankou (Trinity ‘18, now Civic Technologist at the CT Data Collaborative) joined me to show participants how to think about and create their own public history story maps. Here’s our handout with links to tools and sample maps:

Build Your Own Public History Story Map


Digital Public History Lab, National Council on Public History, March 27th, 2019, Hartford CT

Workshop leaders:

Story maps guide web visitors on a point-by-point journey through a historical narrative, with optional photos, audio, or video on an interactive map. In this hands-on workshop, we will briefly compare free and easy-to-use story map platforms, and help you build your own version with our recommended open-source tool: Leaflet Story Maps with Google Sheets. Featured examples include Hartford civil rights history story maps created with community partners and Trinity College undergraduates. Bring a Mac/Windows laptop or Chromebook to fully participate.


Free and easy tool options:

  1. KnightLab Storymap.js
  2. ESRI Story maps
  3. Leaflet Storymaps with Google Sheets

Pros and cons: all 3 tools allow users to freely and easily create storymaps with multimedia. But tool #3 has advantages:

  • multiple designers can collaborate on shared Google Sheet
  • easy data-in, data-out for preservation or future tool migration
  • add your own background overlay map by chapter

Case study: How and why the CT Fair Housing Center created storymaps to share public history Samples of maps-in-progress:

Hands-on next steps

  • Brainstorm your Storymap design on paper and colored pencils
  • Build Your Own Digital Storymap