New UW-L course documents untold La Crosse history

Image of Ariel Beaujot in front of a crowd talking.

Class registration is now open to community members.

Image of Ariel Beaujot speaking in front of a group.

Ariel Beaujot, UW-L professor of history.

Class registration is now open to community members

A new UW-L class is open to anyone interested in uncovering the untold, personal stories that make La Crosse’s history rich.

UW-L students and community members may register for a new, hands-on public history course beginning in fall 2014.

Participants will record local, personal stories associated with geographic points in the city and edit and package them into short, oral histories. They will also learn the theory behind location-based history from UW-L Assistant History Professor Ariel Beaujot.

The course “HIS 393: Material Culture” will be followed by another course in spring 2015, HIS 403. UW-L students may enroll in both courses through the History Department. Interested community members may enroll in separate sections of each course offered through a collaboration between the UW-L’s history department, Continuing Education and Extension and the Wisconsin Council for the Social Studies.

The classes culminate with the launch of a location-based mobile phone system in April 2015 in the downtown area. Participants will erect street-level signs where people can call a toll-free number to access someone’s personal story related to that particular location.

The project “Hear, Here” will create a powerful and living example of local history in the community, says Beaujot.

History 393: Material Culture

Participants will develop pre-professional expertise required to create this type of project. They will learn:

  • The value of telling the history of the average citizen and its relationship to the history of the community as a whole
  • The importance of location-based history
  • To identify interviewees and research their backgrounds
  • Effective interview techniques
  • How to compile and edit interview material

Sign up now:

What: History 393: Material Culture

When: 5:30-8:15 p.m. Wednesdays, Sept. 3 – Dec. 10, 2014

Where: Downtown Main Street, Inc. (DMI), 500 Main Street, La Crosse

Credit: 3 undergraduate credits. Area teachers will find this a rich resource as history is taught in the fourth, eighth and twelfth grades. Credits earned in these courses may be used for Wisconsin teaching license renewal.

Register: Community Members’ Registration Information. The deadline for community member registration is Sept.1, 2014. Enrollment is limited.

For more information: Contact Briana Meuer at 608.785.6513 or

*Participants should plan to take both courses to see the project from start to finish. While the fall course may be taken by itself, the fall course is a prerequisite for the spring course.

Registration for  the spring course “History 403: Exhibition Planning and Development” will open November 2014. Specific dates are still to be determined. In this course, participants will collaborate to design and curate the final product including: Develop and upload a project website and phone system; create and install street level signs; and learn how to do public relations practices to increase community awareness of project.