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Vol 38  No 15
June 8, 2006


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Province selects Arts website as curriculum resource

By Leslie Vryenhoek

The Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage Website already receives over 100,000 visitors each month, but that number is bound to rise as junior high students and teachers throughout the province increasingly turn to it as their source for information on provincial history.

According to project co-ordinator Vince Walsh, the site was established almost 10 years ago as part of a national Charles R. Bronfman Foundation project that envisioned similar sites detailing the history of each province.

“Memorial had a reputation for being at the forefront of network and Internet development, so the foundation approached Dr. Terry Murphy, who was then dean of Arts. He was very supportive and actively raised additional funds for the site’s development.”

The site launched in 1997, although it underwent substantial development for about five years before moving into a less intense stage.

Now content development is back on the front burner, thanks to a $50,000 infusion from the provincial Department of Education.

“The Department of Education has developed a Grade 8 curriculum on Newfoundland and Labrador history. They asked us to go through our site and fill in gaps in the information related to the curriculum,” Mr. Walsh explained. “They approached us because we’ve developed a very good reputation. We have always prided ourselves on making every effort to ensure information is accurate, and visitors to the site have confidence in that accuracy.”

The provincial funding has allowed the Heritage Website team to hire a researcher/writer; Mr. Walsh also hopes to draw on the expertise of the Arts faculty in adding content.

“Our mandate is to examine several aspects of provincial history from the 1800s onward,” says Mr. Walsh. “In the post-confederation era, we’re expanding our information on resettlement, economic development, infrastructure and the cultural changes.”

According to Dr. James Hiller, the academic co-ordinator for the heritage site, the curriculum project is spurring some major original research, particularly for the period of the 1950s and ’60s. “There’s no standard source on the resettlement program, nothing that really describes how a community went about moving in the 1960s. It hasn’t been described before.” The same is true, he noted, of topics like the start-up of mines and mining towns in western Labrador.

To join the hundred-thousand or so visitors who experience the depth and breadth of the Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage Website every month, visit www.heritage.nf.ca.

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