I’m at the MACE tech conference on the K-State campus listening to a session on the Kansas Memory site. I poked around the site a year or so ago and am really impressed with the changes they’ve made.

Modeled after the American Memory site and maintained by the Kansas State Historical Society, Kansas Memory does a great job of sharing and highlighting some fantastic primary sources. And even though the site focuses on a fairly specific sub-set of Kansas-related stuff, anyone who is teaching American History should also be using the site.

The content covers US events back to the early 1800s with a wide range of documents that can be tied into tons of different broader topics.

Some of the newer features:

  • They’ve created something called Teacher Mode that provides content specifically aligned to Kansas state standards. If you create your account and check the teacher box, you enter this mode automatically when you log-in. You have the ability to turn Teacher Mode on and off while you’re at the site. You can also search just by state standard and indicator to find materials specific to that indicator.
  • You can save searches as well as add items to your Bookbag for future use. You can also save documents to specific folders with annotations. This would be great for student research.
  • The site has some semi Delicious-like features that let you browse the Bookbags of other users. This feature is especially useful when I’m looking at a specific document and I can see other users who have saved the same document. By clicking on their username, I can see what they have saved that may be similar to what I’m looking for.
  • You can create RSS feeds to get updates on recently added resources as well as new items added to your saved searches.
  • There is a nice collection of multimedia stuff with cartoons, videos, audio clips and artwork.
  • The default screen allows you to click a specific Kansas county to pull up materials dealing with the county.

I like the attempts by the KSHS to make the site interactive with both content and with other users. There is a distinct Web 2.o feel to the site that encourages collaboration and discovery.

The video below is one I ran across while doing a search for Dust Bowl items. It brought back memories of stories that my father used to tell of rabbit drives in western Kansas. You never know what you’ll run across!


Updated – Wes Fryer of Moving at the Speed of Creativity fame was at an earlier session and has a great post with some sweet screenshots. Head over there to get a fuller description!

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