Capstone Innovation

Supporting Art History Students' Digital Projects at American University

  • Samuel Sadow American University
  • Melissa Becher
Keywords: pedagogy, Omeka S, EdSpace, WordPress, information presentation, digital humanities, collaboration, web design


In 2019, the art history program at American University gave its masters students a new option for the capstone project that is the culmination of the degree: create a digital project on an art historical topic using Omeka S or WordPress. Initially, only a single student chose to complete a digital capstone over a traditional thesis, but within two years there was near parity between the two options, meaning seven digital capstones for the 2021 cohort. To support these projects, a close partnership quickly developed between the University’s library, the visual resources center, and the archives.

This paper covers how three campus units coordinate that support for these innovative digital humanities projects, including administration of the platforms, instruction, technical support, preservation, and access to the final projects. The paper also showcases examples of student work to demonstrate the variety and creativity of projects that can be accomplished using these platforms, as well as their contributions to the field of art history. The outcome of this initiative is clear: the best of digital humanities, weaving design and technology with rigorous art historical research, and finished projects that have already resulted in successful job applications in the field.

Author Biographies

Samuel Sadow, American University

Samuel Sadow has been the Visual Resources Curator at American University since October 2016, and is also an Adjunct Professorial Lecturer in the Art History Program.

Melissa Becher

Melissa Becher is the Associate Director for Research, Teaching, and Learning as well as the Subject Selector for Art at American University Library.

Feature Articles