The History Design Lab (HDL) is an initiative of the History Department at Oberlin College. HDL offers students of any major and class year the opportunity to engage in collaborative and creative efforts to excavate stories about the past. Students design, lead, and participate in projects that are advised by faculty and professional staff. History Design Lab projects are driven by student energy and interest. Students in HDL learn about doing research in archives, conducting oral histories, building and organizing archival collections, and using digital tools to engage with the past and to bring their findings to a public audience.

Some of our current and past projects include:

  • Publishing On Second Thought, a student-run history blog and print journal
  • The African American Women’s Intellectual History Project, a collection of scholarly biographies focused on the intellectual work of African American women who either attended or are closely affiliated with Oberlin College and Conservatory
  • Intersections, an online exhibit that explores the life and work of Oberlin alumni, Shirley Graham Dubois ’34
  • The COVID at Kendal Oral History Project, which features nine oral histories with residents at the Kendal Retirement community about their experiences living through the COVID pandemic
  • The Oberlin COVID Archive, a recently launched project that will create a digital archive of the COVID experience at Oberlin, by collect artifacts, stories, and photos from the student body, the college administration, and student organizations.

To learn more or become involved with the History Design Lab, please contact us at historydesignlab@gmail.com.