In 1985, Faribault was the first
city in Minnesota to receive designation as a Certified Local Government.
This designation signifies a city’s commitment to the preservation
of historic resources through resource surveys, designation and
protection of historic structures and landscapes, and educational
outreach. The Faribault Heritage Preservation Commission is especially
aware that promoting an understanding of the stories behind physical
historic resources is the key to uniting the community in preservation
The information in the Lives and Times web site is designed
to help teachers and others share these fascinating stories of the
past with students and the community, making connections between
significant historical events and the local expressions of these
events – and their players –that can be found right
within the community of Faribault.
The site revolves loosely around the events of 1862, the year when
the clash of cultures between American Indians and white settlers
was expressed in the violence of the U.S.-
Dakota War. This time period was identified as one the primary
interest for teachers surveyed prior to site development. (see:
About this Site) Information in the site
will lead Faribault students to history stories played out literally
in their backyards. Other links in the site outline the major concepts
of the period, such as the settlement
of the town and information on land
treaties. Students can also take A
Closer Look at the foreshadowing and reverberations of 1862,
as well the typical and curious details of everyday life in the
midst of this critical period.
The web site’s primary tools are historic fiction narratives,
written for middle-school students, about the four individuals highlighted
in the site. These quiet stories, which use the backdrop of early
Faribault landscapes and structures, rely on the characterization
of real people of the past to depict the range of lifestyles and
viewpoints that could be found in early Minnesota settlement history.
The use of fiction as a history tool merits more discussion than
can be covered here, but teachers may want to read an ALAN
Review article on the writing and teaching of historic and historical
Beyond the narratives, teachers and students have the opportunity
to learn more about each individual through biographical pieces
(Before the Story and After
the Story) and by investigating their traces in the Faribault
landscape (In Their Tracks). The stories
and related elements can also be used as a springboard to broader
topics of history and culture through highlighted links exploring
primary source evidence and other history concepts.
The use of web technology provides many opportunities, but also
requires a great commitment of resources. Due to concerns expressed
by educators about the degree of student access to online learning
opportunities and the hardware and software requirements for sophisticated
gaming activities, the Lives and Times web site was designed
to utilize the core capacity of the web: the chance to show connections
and communicate information previously unavailable to a wide audience.
Thus the site is text-based, providing print versions of the main
body of the site that can be taken to the non-wired classroom.
Teachers who can provide on-line access for students may wish to
consider the site as a research resource that can take students
in many directions, from social and political history to literature
and geography. It should be noted that some links take students
to sites beyond the Faribault Heritage Preservation Commission sites.
These off-site links are noted in the link roll-over.
The decision to create a site that is informational, rather than
one focusing on interactive processes and activities, was made by
the developers reluctantly, but as a realistic consequence of an
educational environment undergoing rapid change. Curtailed educational
resources and shifting priorities restrict the opportunities to
for teachers to contribute to activity design and review, an essential
element of successful activity development.
The Faribault Heritage Preservation Commission and web site development
team hope the information contained in the Lives and Times
web site (and its general-audience companion site, Preserving
Faribault’s Past) will deepen the understanding of local
history for teachers, students, and community members, and strengthen
the desire to contribute to the preservation of Faribault’s
wonderful historic resources.