I am a digital public historian and a program officer. I am the former Director of Strategic Initiatives at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media where I also worked as a Research Associate Professor in History and Art History at George Mason University.

My long form publication, Stamping American Memory: Collectors, Citizens, and the Post, is available as an open access digital and print monograph from the University of Michigan’s Digital Culture Books series (2018). It offers the first cultural history of stamp collecting through closely examining the Post Office’s commemorative stamp program. Designed to be saved as souvenirs, commemoratives circulated widely and stood as miniature memorials to carefully selected snapshots from the American past that also served the political needs of small interest groups.

I began my career working in public museums, and served as the Director of Education and Public Programs at the U.S. Navy Museum in Washington, DC for seven years before I came to RRCHNM in 2005. At the Center, I directed and managed 30+ projects. The first project that I managed and worked on from start to finish was the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank. After HDMB, I became part of the original Omeka team (2007-present), and continued to work on many other digital humanities and cultural heritage projects. In collaboration with colleagues at RRCHNM, I wrote many successful grant applications to public agencies (NEH, IMLS, and NSF) and private foundations (Mellon, Getty, Sloan, and Kress) that funded our work, and was an ACLS Digital Extension Fellow.

My dissertation, “Stamping American Memory: Stamp Collecting in the U.S. 1880s-1930s,” earned the Moroney Prize for Scholarship in Postal History. I was awarded the University of Michigan Press-HASTAC Prize for Digital Humanities to write and publish, Stamping American Memory, as an open peer-reviewed, open access digital publication.

I write and present on topics in digital humanities, public history, memorials and memorialization, museums and technology, and collecting practices. I am an experienced teacher and leader of digital humanities workshops designed for scholars, GLAM professionals, and graduate students.


George Mason University, PhD, History (Major field US History; Minor fields: memory and museums; digital history)

University of Notre Dame, MA, American Studies

Bates College, BA, American Cultural Studies, (Minor in Spanish)

Other Publications

Research White Papers and Reports

Select Digital Publications

Blog Posts


    Major Digital Projects

    • Omeka: Director, 2017-present; Associate Director and Quality Assurance Lead, 2007-17: Omeka open source software project for building digital collections and publications (http://omeka.org), and affiliated projects, Omeka.net (http://omeka.net), Omeka Everywhere, and Omeka-S

    • Transcribing and Linking Early American Records with Scripto and Omeka: Primary Investigator and Director, 2017-19: Grant to upgrade and redesign the crowdsourcing tool, Scripto, for Omeka S

    • Papers of the War Department Digital Edition: Primary Investigator and Director, 2017-18: Grant to sustain and extend the work of the legacy digital documentary edition through upgrading the interface and increasing outreach http://wardepartmentpapers.org

    • Creating Local Linkages: Training Public Librarians to Facilitate Doing Digital Local History,” Primary Investigator and Co-Director, 2017-2020: Grant to develop a free and open online curriculum, and offer in-person workshops, that will train public librarians in doing digital local history.

    • Hearing the Americas: Primary Investigator and Director, 2017-18: Grant to plan a new digital public humanities project on the transnational origins of early American popular music.

    • The Networked Curator: Primary Investigator and Director, 2017-18: Grant to develop two digital methods professional development workshops for art curators in partnership with the Association of Art Museum Curators, http://networkedcurator.doingdh.org

    • Mapping Early American Elections, Co-Primary Investigator and Co-Director, 2016-19: Grant to develop new access points to a rich collection of early American election returns by building maps and interpretive essays, http://earlyamericanelections.org/

    • Doing Digital History 2014 & 2016: An Institute for Mid-Career American Historians
      Co-Primary Investigator and Co-Director, 2013-17: Grants to design, teach, and evaluate a summer Institute for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities for training mid-career historians in digital humanities work, http://history2016.doingdh.org http://history2014.doingdh.org

    • ReBuilding the Portfolio: Digital Humanities for Art Historians: Co-Director and Primary Investigator, 2013-14; and Building a Digital Portfolio: Summer Institute for Art History Graduate Students, Primary Investigator and Co-Director, 2014-15: Grants to develop, teach, and evaluate a digital humanities summer institute designed for art history graduate students. http://arthistory2015.doingdh.org

    • A Liberian Journey: History, Memory, and the Making of a Nation, Co-Primary Investigator and Technical Director, 2013-15: Grant to design and build an online collecting and exhibition site on colonial expeditions in Liberia on the mobile web. http://liberianhistory.org

    • September 11 Digital Archive, Primary Investigator, 2013-14, Administrator, 2008-present: Grant to upgrade and preserve the digital assets of the September 11 Digital Archive which collects, preserves, and presents stories and digital record from the attacks on September 11, 2001 http://911digitalarchive.org

    • Histories of the National Mall, Co-Director, 2012-present: Grant to develop digital public history project for the mobile web to tell the history and development of the National Mall as a public space, http://mallhistory.org

    • State of History Museum Websites, Primary Investigator, 2011: Survey and analysis of content from 115 history museum websites and their digital presence.
      Survey Data: http://bit.ly/stateofhistorymuseumweb

    • Mobile for Museums, Project Manager, 2008-09: Grant to research and produce a white paper on the state of the field and best practices in mobile technologies for museums, and included building of a prototype mobile website and accompanying Omeka plugins.
      White Paper and Prototype: https://rrchnm.org/labs/mobile-for-museums/

    • Hurricane Digital Memory Bank, Project Manager and Outreach Co-Lead, 2005-08: Grant to fund designing and building a website to collect, preserve, and present the stories and digital record of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, as well as studying the viability and replicability of online collecting projects http://hurricanearchive.org

    Sheila A Brennan

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