Immigration History Research Center launches new website, curriculum

Thiago Heilman

Image: Thiago Heilman

Today, the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota launches two new projects that jointly serve teachers of grade 8 and older and empower immigrants to tell their own stories: the Immigrant Stories website and new curricula available to teachers nationwide. 

A celebration at the Elmer Andersen Library, room 120 on March 9 from 4–6 p.m. will bring together teachers and immigrants who are using and benefiting from the creation of Immigrant Stories. The Educator Open House is held at 4 p.m., the program and Immigrant Stories screening is held at 5 p.m. and a reception will be held at 6 p.m. to close the evening. The event is free and open to the public. Teachers and immigrants who are using the Immigrant Stories website and curriculum, along with IHRC staff, will be available to share their experiences.

The Immigrant Stories website, produced with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, helps immigrants tell and share their stories using whatever digital tools they have available (such as a tablet or computer). The project places storytelling tools in the hands of the people who have experienced immigration, but also helps fill the IHRC Archives and the Digital Public Library of America with the stories of a diverse group of recent immigrants. Users of Immigrant Stories gather photos, documents, text and audio to create their own 3 - 5 minute digital story.

This project defines "immigrant" broadly. The collection contains digital stories from people living outside their country of birth as well as stories created by their children and grandchildren. Immigrant Stories also welcomes stories from international students, international adoptees, and people who do not feel that their stories fit a particular, or just one, category. 

Since Immigrant Stories was piloted in 2013, more than 215 stories representing more than 45 different communities have been created and can be viewed at the Immigrant Stories website.

Accompanying the Immigrant Stories website are two new curricula to serve teachers. A new story-making curriculum is designed for high school, college, English language learners and public workshops. It teaches students to make their own digital stories through An additional curriculum written by the Advocates for Human Rights uses digital stories that are already in the collection to teach about immigration and refugee issues to students grade 8 and older. Both curricula are available to download from the IHRC website.

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