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Dutchess County Historical Society to Honor Bard College Digital History Lab Coordinator Gretta Tritch Roman

Darren O'Sullivan
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.— Bard College Experimental Humanities Digital Projects Coordinator Gretta Tritch Roman will receive the Dutchess County Historical Society’s (DCHS) Dutchess Award at the group’s annual awards dinner this month. Roman was lauded for her “exceptional, highly innovative contributions to her students and to the broader community in the areas of preservation, history, and education,” according to the award citation. Roman coordinates the Bard College Experimental Humanities Digital History Lab (DHL), an innovative humanities laboratory focused on the production of local history projects between Bard College faculty and students and the community of citizens, public servants, historical societies, and libraries dedicated to local history in the Hudson Valley.

“Since moving to the Hudson Valley, I have been inspired by the incredible energy among residents of Red Hook, Rhinebeck, and Tivoli in producing local histories,” says Tritch Roman. “The opportunity to connect the students at Bard to this kind of enthusiasm regarding cultural and material history is exciting. My hope is that through our experiments in the Digital History Lab, the students who work in the lab will have the opportunity to authentically engage with their neighbors and begin to build their own place in the community, finding common ground in a shared historical landscape and together producing a community-built archive.”

Tritch Roman estimates that 20 Bard faculty, staff, and students have participated in DHL since it began last fall. In one minilab, focusing on life histories in Dutchess County, Bard staff and students are collaborating with Historic Red Hook, the Dutchess County Historical Society, and the village of Tivoli to interview different groups, including longtime residents, farmers, and veterans. Another project aims to document the material culture and individual narratives that form the history of the Hudson Valley by establishing a “mobile history van” that could bring documentation equipment (scanners, cameras, audio recorders) directly to people to obtain their individual contributions to local history.

The DCHS awards dinner takes place Thursday, November 16, at the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel at 5:30 p.m. For ticket information, please visit or call 845-471-1630. Col. James M. Johnson (U.S. Army, Ret.), executive director of the Hudson River Valley Institute and military historian, Marist College; and Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation will also receive awards at the ceremony. “These two individuals and one business have each had an important, positive effect on our community that reflects the value of a community embracing and respecting its collective, local history,” said Michael Gordon, DCHS board president. “The annual awards have a special place because they allow us to encourage others who provide leadership in a shared mission that involves high standards and broad accessibility.”

Gretta Tritch Roman is Experimental Humanities Digital Projects Coordinator at Bard College. She received her B.Arch. from the University of Arkansas and holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in art and architectural history from Pennsylvania State University. Her research centers on American architecture, particularly mapping the intersection of architecture and capitalism in 19th-century business districts. At Bard, she has taught courses that focus on mapping as a cultural practice, and she has offered workshops on integrating mapping exercises into courses as well as using mapping tools in research.

The Bard College Experimental Humanities Digital History Lab (DHL) is an innovative process-driven, humanities laboratory focused on the production of local history projects that foster exchanges between Bard College faculty and students and the community of citizens, public servants, historical societies, and town libraries dedicated to preserving and promoting public history in the Hudson Valley. DHL’s primary goal is to support the local history community by contributing interactive digital representations of our shared local environs with the hope that new humanities practices will expand the traditional constraints of history and make it accessible to more audiences. DHL is funded in 2016-17 through the Experimental Humanities Initiative and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The lab is divided into minilabs for the investigation of local histories, allowing a number of projects to be in production simultaneously. Each minilab is affiliated with Bard faculty and/or staff and a range of community and local historians. The labs operate under the guidance of the lab coordinator, Gretta Tritch Roman, with the contributions of a team of student lab assistants. For more information on DHL and its projects, please visit

Founded in 1914, the Dutchess County Historical Society conserves the past to educate for the future by procuring, promoting, and preserving the history of Dutchess County. Its offices and collections are located at Clinton House, the 18th century stone house at 549 Main Street, Poughkeepsie. For more information, please visit


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This event was last updated on 11-09-2017