Voices of the Past Video Netcast: Featuring Dave Moyer, teenage new media producer and historic preservation activist

Voices of the Past Episode 1: Transcript

Coming up in this edition of the Voices of the Past netcast, we’ll meet Dave Moyer. Moyer is a new media professional and a historic preservation activist. We’ll learn how he became involved in those efforts, and how he manages his role as founding president of Bitwire media … at just sixteen years old.

Welcome to Voices of the Past. I’m Jeff Guin. We’ll have that interview will be coming up for you in just a few moments. But first, here are a few briefs about heritage in the online world.


The Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago is offering a wealth of downloadable research documents about the ancient Middle East at no cost. The material comes from the institute’s extensive collection which includes important academic books on the languages, history and cultures of the ancient Middle East.

The Oriental Institute first announced the Electronic Publications Initiative in 2004. The initiative’s mission is for all publications from the Oriental Institute to be published in print and electronically. The institute has published nearly 300 books since 1906. Topics range from dictionaries of the Assyrian and Hittite languages to oversized folio volumes that document Egyptian temples and tombs. Past volumes are being added online as funding permits.

Now, the Insititute says that the availability of free downloads has actually increased print sales by seven percent.


The American Institute for Conservation and its Foundation recently launched a collaborative wiki based on their conservation catalogs. The catalogs include descriptions of materials and techniques used to preserve and treat works of art and historic artifacts. These include topics such as books and paper, paintings, photographic materials, and textiles.

The site is based on the MediaWiki platform software that was designed for Wikipedia.org. This wiki will allow editors to work collaboratively to update the information. It will also ensure that innovative methods and materials are documented and widely disseminated to practicing conservators and conservation scientists.

The wiki was created with a grant from the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training.


For the past three years, Michael Phillips has had a dream that he hopes will someday spread to the rest of the world: to create usense of place with video. It seems the tech world has helped set the stage for that dream, incorporating video functionality into everything from mobile phones to music players. With his heritage travel site and blog, iGuidez, Phillips provides a template for capturing and sharing special sites for netizens everywhere to enjoy.

I recently spoke with Michael Phillips about his dream for the Voices of the Past podcast. Phillips talks about how he developed iGuidez and the challenges of running a heritage website. You can listen to his insights by visiting our shownotes site or by searching for us on iTunes.


While many sixteen year olds are obsessing about their next social event or prospects for college, one young man is taking a broader view. His name is Dave Moyer, and he is the founding president of Bitwire Media. Bitwire is a digital media content network that produces a variety of podcasts, websites and blogs featuring some of the world’s top new-media professionals.

But beyond his work as a prodigy in social media, he is also an active proponent of historic preservation. In fact, Moyer was one of the select few chosen across the country to work alongside First Lady Laura Bush in New Orleans during a summit with the History Channel and the Preserve America initiative. Since then, he has co-chaired three local and national summits promoting youth activism in historic preservation.

I had the opportunity to chat with Dave Moyer during a recent meeting of WordPress users. This is what he had to say about how he first became interested in podcasting, and the importance of teachers as heritage values advocates:

MOYER: I was lucky. In 7th grade, I went into the normal history class idea of “here we are, we are going to get the history textbooks an learn a bunch of facts and then forget them by the time its summer.”

I was ready for that. Then the first day, we learned primary sources. We learned Library of Congress, American Memory. We learned all of these places to get stuff, and I am like, “OK, this is a little different. What is this?”

By the spring we are asked by historic Denver because its teacher, Michelle Pierson is an incredible historic preservationist and educator at the same time. And she does both very well, and she gave us the opportunity to work with historic Denver on a project for the first annual Historic Colfax avenue marathon. And they said, “Alright, make us a brochure,” and we were like, “No, we are going to make a podcast.”

I just learned about podcasting, and so I came up and said, “Alright, what if we tried a podcast form?” And we posted…we recorded in conjunction with the Library of Congress’s teaching of primary sources, History Channel, a few other organizations. We recorded six podcasts on different areas of Colfax so that the runners could download these things onto their iPods and listen to them while they are running. So, we got within, probably the first couple of months over 100,000 downloads in the state of Colorado alone with these podcasts. We have gotten grants from Best Buy, the History Channel, it’s been national recognized as a program, and I have had the honor of being able to go down to New Orleans to work with First Lady Laura Bush on the first annual Preserve America Summit down there. I’ve worked with a bunch of other youth from the nation. I have co-chaired, I think there have been four now, of the regional Colorado Preserve America Youth Summits that have stemmed off of that as a separate endeavor. It’s been a great, great dream…it’s all snowballed. But it’s been awesome. I’ve had all those opportunities.

GUIN: So, you’ve been speaking at social media conferences, obviously, and you are here at WordCamp now. Have you added historic preservation conferences to your speaking schedule? Are you in demand yet as a speaker in those circles?

MOYER: There’s some of that. I’ve done, I came just recently, they had the state Preserve America Youth Summit, I talk about the Colorado Preserve America Summit and I work there, I’m speaking there, it is sort of a….. I do a couple things. I’ve done the National Trust for Historic Preservation, those kinds of things. Not as much as the social media, and that’s just kind of picked up as of late. But there are occasional times where I will go out there and be requested to talk about the student side of things and the tech side of things. Because that is what I live, that is what I do.

GUIN: So, do you find that sometimes maybe it’s a little harder when you’re dealing with people dealing with historic preservation that they seem a little distrustful or reticent with these technologies?

MOYER: Oh they do. There are all sorts of…well, a lot of historic preservationists are also the teachers, they are also the educators who have learned through their years and years of teaching that tech equals bad because it distracts kids in my classroom. So the cell phones have to be put away and taken away, and iPods have to be shoved in a box that they get back when its June. And really, there’s technologies…you can’t fight ’em. They come out of the closet.. from under the table, I know that. What you need to do is take that and turn it into a tool so that it is actually being an educational thing. I keep going back to Michelle Piersen. We’ve done wikis, we’ve done blogs in her history class. There was a kid who did a Ben Franklin’s blog because he came to Denver for the Ben Franklin museum and was touring around and trying to fit into modern society. All kinds of great, great stuff, and when you are taking it out of the text book and…and textbook worksheets, they have a horrible negative connotation with kids, you get such a better connection when you connect it to something that we know. Back in the 1920s, kids read nonstop, that was their life. Either they read or they go play down in the park. Now we listen to our iPods or we go play down in the park. You have to adapt as the kids are adapting. You have to adapt as the work is adapting, and it’s hard sometimes for some of the preservationists and some of the people who are active in this stuff to do that. That’s what we are trying to work on a lot, is show them that this is kinda works.

GUIN: So, are you doing…you mentioned the original series of podcasts. Are you following those up in any kind of way? Do you have plans to do more work with either podcasts or other forms of social media related to heritage preservation?

MOYER: We recently did a big project with the local veterans museum for World War II veterans, and we did podcasts associated with that, actual interviews with some of the vets there. There are lots of things that are always being worked on. We’ve not been able to do as much as we’ve liked to because of different issues associated with the museum there, and just as we were talking about before, curators who are stuck in the days of “we need to have a wall, and we need to have the glass behind it” and that’s all we can do. And sometimes that creates a roadblock, but there’s always stuff in the works and there are many many plans in the future on this…

GUIN: Now, Dave actually hosts several podcasts, including the WordCast, The Aimless Agenda Show, and the Best of the Net. Additionally, he is one of the few recipients of MITs Promise of the Future Award, which recognizes students for outstanding work and activism in the technology world.

Well, that’s it for this edition of Voices of the Past. If you are using the web to communicate heritage, we’d like to hear from you. Share your story with us by going to our Voices of the Past shownotes site. There, you can also find links to all of today’s stories. And, until next time, we’ll see you on-line.


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5 thoughts on “Voices of the Past Video Netcast: Featuring Dave Moyer, teenage new media producer and historic preservation activist

  1. Excellent. I’m always surprised at the energies of the young who care about the past – enough to preserve it. Dave Moyer is a great example of those who will handle our future well, protecting the past as they go. Thank you so much for sharing him with us.

  2. Wonderful to read about passion being put into practice at such an early age. Would love it if this piece could add a list of links to some of the kid-initiated projects Moyer mentions. I’d especially love to see the Ben Franklin blog. (I’ll attempt to find it, but a one-click at the end of the transcript would be nice.)

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