Chapman Center Offers Workshops in the Digital Humanities


Learn to use research-enhancing photographs and videos and produce visually appealing images; add polish and gravity to your academic work.

You are invited to participate in the following Workshops in Digital Humanities and Photography hosted by the Chapman Center for Rural Studies:

  1. Field Class: Photographic Approaches for Documenting Historic Sites for Preservation and Research, Friday, October 9, 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  2. Creating an Explorable Photographic Virtual Tour and Stitched Panoramas, Friday, October 16, 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Willard Hall, Room 217
  3. Basics of Scanning, Restoring, and Retouching of Distressed Photographs, Friday, November 13, 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Willard Hall, Room 217

Tom Parish, MFA, Visiting Visiting Instructor – History (ChTom_Parish_Bio_Pic_2015apman Center for Rural Studies), will lead each workshop. His professional work has been featured at the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art, Box Gallery, Kansas City; Strecker-Nelson Gallery, and galleries from Great Bend, Kansas, to Johnson City, Tennessee.

Space is limited in each class. Reserve your spot as soon as possible by contacting Allie Lousch at the Chapman Center for Rural Studies, 785. 532.0380; via email,

  1. Field Class: Photographic Approaches for Documenting Historic Sites for Preservation and Research, Friday, October 9, 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
    We will meet at the Riley County Historic Society Museum. Travel to locations will be provided.

This workshop is intended to give faculty and students an opportunity to learn new and valuable tools for documenting historical sites and artifacts.  Participants will explore digital photographic methods useful to enhance research development and interpretation in ways which surpass text alone.

During the afternoon’s exploration of selected historic sites, participants will learn several approaches of documenting and interpreting location and place based on evidence available on site.  The importance of doing so with a sensitivity for the integrity of the site and with the intention of not physically intervening, manipulating or removing materials while still collecting needed information.  Students will also learn why it’s important to include images of supporting evidence found in the historical record (newspapers, census records, survey maps, etc).

Learn how to produce photographs and videos to create a visual inventory of a location for research purposes.  Produce visually appealing images that will add polish and gravity to academic endeavors.

Participants will practice panoramic photography techniques and observe archaeological analysis in action.  Attendees may use images generated in this field class to create panoramas for the Explorable Photographic Tour workshop (Oct. 16).

We recommend participants bring their own digital camera (dslr – preferred) or smart phone, but it is not required.  Participants are encouraged to attend the (Oct 7) Kansas Preservation Alliance conference.  Tom Parish, this workshop presenter, will partner with Jack Hoffman for an archaeological perspective on the site(s) to be explored during this workshop.

  1. Creating an Explorable Photographic Virtual Tour and Stitched Panoramas
    Friday, October 16, 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Willard Hall, Room 217

The Creating an Explorable Photographic Virtual Tour and Stitched Panoramas Digital Humanities workshop provide faculty and students an opportunity to enhance their research by creating immersive, informative and explorable images using photographs obtained in the earlier Field Class workshop (Oct. 9).  Attendees will learn to utilize both Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Image Composite Editor to stitch digital photographs into panoramas and explorable virtual tours. These images can be shared online using Photosynth.  These images can allow others to virtually explore locations that are difficult to reach, often off limits or are newly discovered, letting them search out the hidden details of a site without disturbing or damaging what’s there.  This workshop is intended to be paired with the Oct. 9 Field Class workshop, but images can be supplied for attendees to use that weren’t able to attend the earlier class.

  1. Basics of Scanning, Restoring, and Retouching of Distressed Photographs
    Friday, November 13, 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Willard Hall, Room 217

Thousands of family photographs lie in basements and attics waiting for rescue before it’s too late! Photographs from the mid-20th century are the most vulnerable of them all!  In this workshop, faculty and students will bring their own photographs (or photos can be provided) to learn how to optimally scan images, restore original coloration (when possible), and repair small blemishes and irregularities.  Attendees will learn the archival nature of different photographic processes and be familiarized with proper physical and digital image handling. Scanning and reproduction of old photographs and documents will also be covered.  Adobe Photoshop basics will be included.  Attendees will gain a foundational understanding of historic and personal digital image archiving.

Tom Parish has joined the Chapman Center for Rural Studies as a Visiting Instructor-History (Digital Humanities). His love of the Flint Hills and the History of Kansas shows through in his photography and research which often focuses on the remnants of people and places that have long since faded and are at risk of being erased. His work is displayed in many regional galleries and he has won commissions from major galleries and museums including the Beach Museum of Art. A major grant from the Kansas Humanities Council made it possible for him to create an impressive and unique collection of photographs, audio, video and historical/archaeological research regarding the native stone dugouts and root cellars that dot the Flint Hills of Kansas. This work is available to the public at Other examples of Tom’s work can be found in his digital records of the tailings of the community, landscape, and people of Picher, Oklahoma, in the aftermath of unchecked lead mining. Tom earned his MFA in Photography and Digital Art from Kansas State University.

Tom will be keynote speaker at the upcoming Kansas Preservation Alliance Conference, October 7 & 8, 2015, in Manhattan.


Pioneer Bluff Partnership Featured at Flavors of the Flint Hills

09122015 CROPPED BLS speaking at Pioneer Bluff Fundraiser by Dan WolfeSeptember. The month when autumn air cools the Flint Hills and the Kansas State Fair inspires and entertains. This year, it is also the month of Pioneer Bluff’s Flavors of the Flint Hills fundraiser which highlighted the unique Chapman Center for Rural Studies and Pioneer Bluffs partnership.

“History is depicted in many ways…I can recite the heartfelt words of Henry Rogler, but I cannot recreate the experience of life at the ranch,” Dr. Bonnie Lynn-Sherow, Executive Director of the Chapman Center and keynote speaker, said regarding the importance of the Center/Bluff partnership.

As the Chapman Center creates a digital archive of the Pioneer Bluffs/Rogler Ranch rich recorded history of photos, letters, and ranch documents, Pioneer Bluffs’ staff engage visitors in the south wind passing through the windmill, walk among the grounds, the whistle of nearby trains, and “smell of spring grass…and spring burn.”

Since last Spring, Chapman Center interns and staff have worked carefully to organize, preserve, and digitally archive the physical history of the Rogler family – homesteaders of what is now Pioneer Bluffs. This archival project has included scrapbooks, mementos, letters, maps, photos, and ranch documents which illustrate the spirited life of the Roglers and their contribution to the agricultural heritage of the Flint Hills and State.

Included in the papers are letters home to sweethearts from college students like Maud Sauble. She wrote to her future husband, Henry, he would have to wait to marry until she had graduated from Kansas State Agricultural College (KSAC). Investigation revealed the entire Rogler family attended what is now Kansas State University (formerly KSAC) which speaks to the role land grant colleges had in the history of ranching and farming.

E 1936 Kenneth Robertson Joe King Kay Golden Oscar Butters Henry Rogler
Students in Dr. Lynn-Sherow’s Spring 2015 Public History class also researched and created a self-guided walking-tour brochure for Pioneer Bluffs visitors (Pioneer Bluffs’ Walking Tour Brochure (PDF). This resource further invites ranch guests to step into history preserved and alive – a key factor in building understanding and engagement – a sense of place.

“This is a history that fills our senses, touches our hearts, and ruffles our hair,” Lynn-Sherow said of Pioneer Bluffs’ prairie heritage education and exploration farmstead.


Exploring Public History

Flint Hills Discovery Center Exhibit/Operations Manager

Flint Hills Discovery Center Exhibit/Operations Manager, Roy Garrett, introduced the Public History class to behind-the-scenes museum operations

History matters

From Roman aqueducts, the creation of NASA, and the recently renewed diplomatic relations with Cuba, history offers clues into a people’s motivations, priorities, and trends. If you’ve watched a Ken Burns’ documentary, encountered historical interpreters, or read any number of historically-sound popular books, then you’ve encountered the work of Public Historians.

Public History connects academic resources to a wider audience. Public Historians bring history to the public square.

In spring of 2015, Dr. Lynn-Sherow led her Public History class through several collaborative projects exploring Lost Kansas Communities, historic preservation, digital humanities, museum curation, and even Wikipedia.

Pioneer Bluffs/Rogler Ranch

Pioneer Bluffs/Rogler Ranch

One project involved developing a walking tour brochure for the popular Pioneer Bluffs prairie heritage site. Public History students visited the historically significant Pioneer Bluffs/Rogler Ranch, researched its history, and formulated a walking tour that is now available to visitors!

They also explored the lost Kansas community of Comiskey. Patrick Moran discovered “Comiskey had a lot of factors that lead to an (enduring) town, so it was all the more surprising that the town failed. Comiskey had a railroad, livestock, etc., and still (disappeared).” He also discovered the people who care about Comiskey’s story. “We are telling the story of ordinary people from an ordinary town. Not many people would stop and think ‘hey, this is important’. It’s a humbling realization.”

07092015 Screenshot 1010 Humboldt Google Maps

1010 Houston Street, Manhattan, Kansas

Students also had the opportunity to write a Preliminary Site Information Questionnaire (PSIQ) used to determine whether a property is worthy of the extensive research and documentation required to launch a National or Kansas Register of Historic Places application. Trey Heitschmidt chose a home in Manhattan to research and discovered “a little perseverance (goes) a long way.” To effectively craft her PSIQ, Trey employed multiple research methods – including multiple visits to the Register of Deeds and a visit to the site.

The practice of public history includes writing books and publications, creating documentaries and movies; developing historical interpretation, and any number of modes among the digital humanities available to a wide and diverse audience. Dr. Lynn-Sherow requested her Public History students to identify a Kansas town whose Wikipedia – a popular crowd-sourced free-access online encylopedia – article was sparse. A “Wikipedian” – employed by Wikipedia to maintain content integrity on the site -instructed the class in best practices related to updating the site.

Alex Good chose Kanopolis and was “amazed at how much information exists on Even the tiny town of Kanopolis provided a rabbit hole of information dating back to the 1800’s for me to explore.” Not only did Alex learn a great deal about Kanopolis, Kansas, (you can read his town update here,,_Kansas), he “learned to not be afraid to jump into something new, even if other people will see. A little time and decent effort…gave me the confidence to learn other practical applications.”

If the experiences of these students are common, than Public History changes more than the perception of the wide “public” audience. The process of researching, evaluating, and communicating changes the history scholars engaged in Public History.