The Inaugural History Jamboree!

The Atlas project embodies a dedication to collaboration, aiming to integrate stakeholders’ voices in historical narratives and foster reflection on lost communities. Through the History Jamboree, participants can engage with unseen historical materials, offer their stories, and learn more about the project.

Collaboration is at the heart of the Atlas. Our goal is to offer an experience for our stakeholders where they can see themselves in the histories we present and in doing so offer them the chance to reflect on the stories of lost communities. While we can achieve a lot on our own, the Atlas requires that we integrate the voices of the stakeholders we study. To that end, we see no better way to do so than to offer what we lovingly call: the History Jamboree!

The Jamboree offers both our stakeholders and us the unique opportunity to discover unseen materials relating to their history. As Marc Perry noted in his 2012 article, “The idea is to make visible histories and materials that otherwise would be largely invisible, and to share them more broadly online.” [1] Another goal of the Jamboree is to solicit stakeholders that may be underrepresented in the historical record. Detroit was one of many towns inundated by dam development, we hope that community focused events can bring forth individuals with their owns stories to tell.

In many ways we are walking on familiar ground as we are not the first organization to put on such an event. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln created what they call “history harvests” in 2010 as part of a student outreach program that later evolved into an undergraduate class.[2] Initially stemming from experimentation, these projects evolved into well-coordinated gatherings that united diverse communities, allowing them to connect and form bonds based on their shared histories. The primary objective of these initial projects was the creation of online repositories hosted on university websites. These inaugural history harvests were dedicated to investigating a range of topics, including railroad construction, veteran experiences, and indigenous histories. [3] The insights gleaned from these experiences have since become guiding principles for our own community sourcing event. Specifically, we eagerly await the opportunity to offer our audience access to the records and oral history interviews we will be capturing on our digital platform.

The event will take place at the community center in Detroit, Oregon, on the weekend of October 21st and 22nd. The Jamboree will begin at 9am, during which time we will be offering refreshments while we familiarize our audience with the event. We will be recording oral histories throughout so come prepared to share the history of you and your family! We are also equipped with both two flatbed scanners and a 3D scanner to digitize your artifacts. Please note that the Atlas will not be taking your documents, only preserving them digitally on our platform. Presentations will be given on historical artifact preservation, how to record oral histories at home, and the current status of the digital platform. The Project Director, Dr. Bob Reinhardt, will also update the community on the project’s progress as a whole–its origin, mission, and next steps. Last but certainly not least, our partners will be present to interact with stakeholders and describe their roles in the Atlas of Drowned Towns. The Atlas represents the ongoing culmination of over a decade of research on Detroit, OR, and the Willamette Valley Project so please come join us for this historic event!

If you are interested in volunteering at the Jamboree, check out our SignUp page here. Or check out the History Jamboree webpage here.

[1] “‘History Harvest’ Project May Spawn a New Kind of MOOC,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, December 21, 2012,

[2] William G Thomas and Patrick D Jones, “The History Harvest: An Experiment in Democratizing the Past Through Experiential Learning,” IADIS International Conference E-Learning, 2013.

[3] “History Harvests: What Happens When Students Collect and Digitize the People’s History? | Perspectives on History | AHA,” accessed February 22, 2023,


Further Reading

Citation Info

Warner, Jack. “The Inaugural History Jamboree!” The Atlas of Drowned Towns (blog). September 27, 2023.

Published by Jack Warner

Research Assistant and Graduate History Student at Boise State University.

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