"Everybody has a story. Tell it." : The Cayuga Heights History Project

The Cayuga Heights History Project is a volunteer group that collects and interprets the history of the Village of Cayuga Heights, a university suburb adjacent to the campus of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. With a shoestring budget, project members created the Cayuga Heights History Project website to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the village in 2015. Guided by the motto: “Everybody has a story. Tell it. Every house has a story. Learn it,” the site focuses on village history through people and places. Background history and resource pages guide residents in compiling their own house histories thereby strengthening the community through personal engagement with its past. An innovative searchable map of the more than 900 village homes and sites is central to the website’s interactivity. It conveys a sense of place to the people who live here, or have in the past, such as writers, artists, and World War II physicists, by exploring the physical landscape, place names, cemeteries, and other significant sites that make the village unique. The project team has put in thousands of hours of research, writing, and production for the benefit of Cayuga Heights residents and local history enthusiasts everywhere. In sum, the Cayuga Heights History Project, enlivened by a dynamic website, exemplifies prime goals of public history, to strengthen identity and neighborly bonds.