Faculty Mentor(s)

Professor Alex Galarza and Dr. William Pannapacker

Document Type


Event Date



Inspired by the American Guide Series of the Federal Writers Project, Digital Holland, Michigan, is a publicly accessible website that hosts research about the communities that include and surround Hope College. The website, digitalholland.hope.edu, was developed by students in the college’s Mellon Scholars Program. After the first two months of research and development, the website has an interactive map, galleries, and more than 160 pages on topics such as people, places, and events, highlighting the diversity and historical importance of the communities. The site also hosts relevant artifacts including images, audio, and video files shared with permission by the Joint Archives of Holland and the Holland Museum. For example, the page “Tulip Time” includes footage from the Tulip Time festival, audio from the original Tulip Time song, interviews with participants, and concise descriptions of the event and links to related events. Additionally, the project engages with and serves the surrounding communities. With the support of faculty and staff mentors, the student developers made connections on campus and in the community with the goal of augmenting and developing the site through crowdsourcing. Through a partnership with the Great Lakes Colleges Association’s “Expanding Collaboration” initiative, Digital Holland, Michigan is expected to become a pilot for a constellation of projects across 13 institutions—Digital Great Lakes—that will explore local culture, support collaborative research, and engage the communities of the region. The project necessitates interdisciplinary collaborative research and represents an approach to undergraduate education that emphasizes high-impact learning practices. Community engagement is another important element of the project; both suggestions and contributions are welcomed from community members. Through this project students have made a case for the value of the humanities in everyday life.