Digital Historian Students Prepare to Visit Juno Beach

| May 26, 2016

The Digital Historian Project is an initiative of Centre Dufferin DHS teacher Neil Orford. The idea isn’t so far-fetched really – students can benefit more from practicing history in an actual institution of history, than they will simply learning history in a classroom. It’s a model that Neil is trying to see repeated in other regions.

The students in the Digital Historian program spend a semester together, earning four different credits – including both history and math – splitting their time between a conventional classroom and the Dufferin County Museum and Archives. They don’t just learn history, they do history.

Every year, the students involved in the course have the opportunity to study a local veteran or a family member who served. The students do in depth biographical studies of the men and women, looking at their family, military, and personal history.

Last week, the Juno Beach Centre in Canada team visited the DHP students at the DCMA as they prepared their veteran stories and some questions to ask historians when they visited the Canadian War Museum. We also got a chance to look at some of the local social history exhibits they had curated for the museum.

As we circulated the room, asking students about the men and women they were studying, what stood out most was the manner of presentation. They weren’t just reporting to us, they were entirely engaged, as if they were their own stories. In some cases, they were. Students studied their grandfathers and great grandfathers, learning more about their family history than they’d realized was possible.

The Juno Beach Centre is excited to welcome this incredibly group of senior high school students to Normandy next November. They will dedicate bricks to all of their veterans, and follow in their footsteps on their battlefield tour.

The Digital Historian Project is an incredibly way to create passionate, young historians. For more information on the program, check out


Dispatches from Juno shares all the news, events, and stories from the Juno Beach Centre in France and Canada. Interested in contributing a story to the blog? Email the editor at

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