Keli Ganey
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Discovering my Passion

My love for history started at the age of 10 when I was tasked with a biography fair project. I grew up in the suburbs outside of Philadelphia, but knew the city and it's history well. For my historical figure, I settled on Betsy Ross. I knew I wanted to make a video project instead of a simple presentation, so I emailed the Betsy Ross House and asked if I could come down and film. I got the all clear, wrote up my complete script, made cue cards, and was on my way. This was my first taste at doing public history, and I was hooked. 

My Academic Journey in History

I began my journey through higher education at Messiah University. Here I studied under renowned historians such as Dr. John Fea, Dr. David Pettegrew, Dr. Joseph Huffman, Dr. Norm Wilson, and Dr. Sarah Myers. I studied an incredible variety of cultures and groups throughout history, which led me to deciding on following the path of a public historian. I simply could not pick only one area of history to study for the rest of my life because I was more interested in the memories of history, how it has been told and remembered by civilizations. it was then that I began to get to work on research and writing of my own outside of class. 

In December of 2020, I launched my blog 21st Century Historian to give myself a platform to being publishing my ideas. By running the blog, I learned a lot about social media management & PR. It also created the opportunity to collaborate with fellow historians found in my classmates. Frequently writing for the blog strengthen my writing skills and ability to turn around a piece in a quick time frame. I have a lot of plans for the blog to expand it to a video platform as well as a podcast. You can check out our first episode of Quick History, which focuses on the history of Princeton University's Gargoyles on campus. 

After completing only my first year of college I was hired full time over the summer at Pennsbury Manor Historic Site as their museum assistant. I learned so much from my colleagues about what it takes to run a historic site. I also got hands on practice at restoring and maintaining 17th century artifacts. I led tours and contributed my own research to an upcoming exclusive exhibition outside of their museum. I was also given the opportunity to work closely with the federally recognized Lenape Tribe as the site is in process of transferring land back to the tribe and a repatriation ceremony will take place. Following my work with Pennsbury I crossed the Delaware river and took up my next summer internship with the Old Barracks Museum in Trenton NJ under Curator Sarah Kirk. I will be in charge of researching the history of indentured and enslaved women who ran away from their stations to fight in the French & Indian and American Revolution. My research led me to 5 possible individual stories with one of them becoming a promising lead. Although the summer had ended, I do intend to continue my research for the Old Barracks and eventually turn it into a small exhibit for them. 

My next Internship took me to York County Historical Society where I will be completed a 10 year exhibit plan for them! I designed 5 exhibits that will run in the new York County Steam Plant Museum from 2024 to 2034. The first exhibit is "Following in their Footsteps: the stories of Freedom Seekers," which is an interactive exhibit that features unique stories of men and women who were seeking freedom and either passed through or took refuge in York County. The second exhibit is "What is Democracy Really?" This exhibit takes a new analytical view of the articles of confederation and the revisions that took place to bring us our constitution. The exhibition is designed to provoke community members to stop and think about the history of our democracy and how has it evolved over the years. The third exhibit is "Passerby: stories of the Native Americans who passed through York County," which details which tribes moved through the land of York as majority of tribes were moving north or west at the time. The forth exhibit is "York's Race Riots: In Context," which details the events of the 1960's race riots that happened in York County, what caused them, and what affects did they leave on the community here. The last exhibit features the history of York College with the hope that the museum partners with the public history department of York and invites students to brainstorm and create this exhibit.

On November 16th, I presented my Revolutionary Run Away research for the first time at the Old Barracks Museum for their 120th members meeting. It was a fantastic experience and I also had opportunities to present this research at the Harrisburg Chapter of the DAR and at the 2023 in February Humanities Symposium at Messiah University. You can watch the full presentation here.

In February of 2023 my short film Behind the Bronze was published by Dauphin County McCormick Riverfront Library and is now playing in the T. Morris Chester Research Center, and it will be playing on Harrisburg Channel 20. The video can also be found on my personal YouTube Channel. My research process for this project has now been presented at two conferences with a third (the Pennsylvania Historical Association conference) in October.  I will be continuing this project as a Chester Way Research Fellow in the Fall of 2023.

This past spring (2023) I began interning at the PA House of Representatives Archives. I have been contributing to numerous tasks such as processing new collections donated by recently retired members, uploading those collections into the archives data base, practicing conservation, meeting and interviewing representatives and even new house speaker Mark Rozzi! I helped the Archives to digitize a lot of their objects within their collections, which then I was able to turn into a digital exhibit that you can view here. 

This past summer (2023) I spent a month in Corinth Greece working for an archaeology expedition led by Dr. David Pettegrew. While overseas I conducted countless interviews, site research, drone photography and videography to come together and make a documentary on what we found. You can now watch Finding Washingtonia on Youtube or Instagram. I am in the current process of editing an extended cut of the film that includes the emotions of the team members and their personal stories. 

Past Employment & Project Partners

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