David Patrick McKenzie

History Communicator


David as TintypeI’m David McKenzie, a history communicator working to connect people with the past and its continuing relevance. This website serves as my blog, containing mostly course-related and dissertation-related material, as well as an evolving portfolio of my work.

Digital Public History Work

I work full-time as Associate Director for Digital Resources in the Education Department at Ford’s Theatre. There I am the project manager for the Remembering Lincoln Digital Collection, which brings together primary source responses to the Lincoln assassination from around the United States and the world.

I also am project manager for  Ford’s Theatre’s presence on Google Cultural Institute, which brings users to Ford’s virtually and connects them with thematic stories and individual artifacts.

Additionally, I write frequently for the institutional blog, co-directed a summer teacher workshop in 2015, served on the team that formulated the institution’s digital strategy, and am working with my colleagues on historical and educational content for Ford’s Theatre’s new website (in progress) and a mobile interpretive tool for student visitors.

Academic Work

I’m also a part-time Ph.D. student in the Department of History and Art History at George Mason University. I’ve passed my qualifying exams in my major field, United States history (with distinction), and my minor fields, Latin America & the World (with distinction) and digital history.

I particularly focus on North America in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

My planned dissertation will examine the on-the-ground experiences of U.S. and Mexican visitors to each others’ countries outside of borderland regions like Texas during the decades leading to the U.S.-Mexican War of 1846, as the countries’ relationship deteriorated at an official and a cultural level but a range of people traveled between the two.

I’ve begun a website to accompany my dissertation. I also have built a database of U.S. citizen claims against Mexico and have blogged on various pieces that will likely come together into my dissertation.

Career Trajectory

I’ve spent my career to-date at the intersection of academic, digital, and public history.

I began with three stints as a history interpreter at the Alamo, in my hometown of San Antonio, Texas, before coming to Washington to attend the graduate program in Museum Studies at The George Washington University. While working on my M.A., I tutored students at an education center, interned at the Library of Congress Moving Image Section and Supreme Court Office of the Curator, and processed archival collections at Gelman Library’s Special Collections.

I worked as an exhibition content developer at The Design Minds, Inc., and in a broad-ranging interpretive position at the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington before joining the staff at Ford’s Theatre in October 2013.

All views expressed on this site, my social media presence, and any of my other websites are my own, expressed on my own time and dime, and do not reflect those of my employer or any other group with which I am affiliated.

1 Comment

  1. Clinton Kennedy

    July 3, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    Hi David,
    I just bought a slide scanner and plan to scan my PC El Salvador slides in the near future. When I have them in a digital format, I will send a set to you.
    (You may remember Betty better than you do me. She lives outside of Chicago and can be found by searching for Betty Rogers Casties.)

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