John Harvard's Toe

Dear Diary,

This week I began my first on-line course from HarvardX, a new program that allows anyone, anywhere in the world to take a course of study from renown professors...for free!   Many colleges and universities are embarking on this wonderful experiment.

My class is called "Tangible Things" and it explores ways we can study history through objects and artifacts.  Seems just the thing to round out my genealogical research.  

John Harvard's statue helps us to consider the difference between history and what scholars call "memory," or the ways in which people memorialize the past.  Memorials acquire new meanings from the ways history is remembered, imagined, or forgotten over time.

The way we remember or imagine our ancestor's life is firmly rooted in our own prejudices and experience, something I have to keep in mind as I attempt to chronicle their stories.  I have several objects I can hold in my hand that connect me tangibly with their past and I'm hoping this course will enrich that connection.

Of course, living where I do with my less than perfect internet will make accessing some of the course materials, specifically the videos, difficult but they provide full transcriptions so I am hopeful that I will be able to get a lot out this unique experience.  I so loved my time at Harvard all those years ago and now the doors are open for me again! I believe learning should never stop.  One should strive to be a lifelong learner. I am so grateful to have this opportunity to continue my education!

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