Happy April Fool’s Day! We’re happy to be celebrating our fifth year and thank you to our readers for all your support over the years!
After five years of operation, ActiveHistory.ca will be shutting down because of government funding cuts. This website, originally envisioned as a Canadian version of Britain’s popular History & Policy website, grew into a widely accessed collection of blog posts, podcasts, book reviews, and short papers.
By the end of 2009, blogging had become our backbone (we now have over 800 posts) and the editorial collective began to develop a series of partnerships with like-minded organizations. The most fruitful ones, such as the Toronto Public Library’s History Matters lecture series and THEN/HiER’s Approaching the Past workshops, became important institutions of their own. In recent years, the website expanded the book review section and added the History Slam! podcast series. In addition to the growing range and quantity of content, the size of the project also continued to grow. Although ActiveHistory.ca operates on an entirely volunteer basis, the editorial collective expanded from five members based at York University to a team of seven located across the country. Contributors, who included graduate students, full professors, public historians, archivists and members of the public, also gave their time freely and the quality of our content relied on their generosity.
Visits to the site continued to grow. Over the past year the site received between 16,000 and 32,000 visitors each month and it was not uncommon to attract well over than 1,000 visitors in a day. Some of this increase in popularity was surely spurred by our contributors’ critiques of government policy at Library and Archives Canada, its expensive commemoration of the War of 1812, and more recently the apparent censorship of a leading feminist historian and the end of the Historical Thinking Project. Sadly, we now fall victim to this same trend. Although our website does not currently rely on any funding, government cutbacks now mean that we must shut our doors too.
I have just read your last post announcing ActiveHistory was closing. It’s one of my favourite websites.
It reads “Although our website does not currently rely on any funding, government cutbacks now mean that we must shut our doors too.” it”s not really clear to me why it’s closing. What your readers community could do to help to keep it active?
While I am sorry to learn that ActiveHistory.ca will be closing down, I must admit that this site has always been a refuge for no-good troublemakers from York University. Good riddance.
I’d like to echo Sean’s comment. I hope that this will inspire some of you to get real jobs, and stop relying on government handouts.
Future historians of ActiveHistory will be confounded by this post, before they check the date.
This is not funny! (Yes, you got me.)
Conservative MP in the House: “We have actually increased our non-funding of history, multiplying it many times; however we have directed this non-funding towards the commercial applications of history. The purpose of history, like science, government and everything really, is to make a few people rich at the expense of everybody else.”
Because Australia receives your posts a day later (Aussie date-wise)- you REALLY got me!
Our Government has trippled its non-funding of History associations and education, too, so it is pleasing to see we are part of an international trend. As a relatively new nation- it certainly wouldn’t do to be seen as out by outself (even if that were at the front) when we can be following an international trend. Our Government is always very careful to ensure we are able to follow another nation’s direction in Education .
This was scary. I am wondering however (and not in the spirit of April Fool’s), whether the reach of AH could be extended by resorting to crowd funding strategies. I’d certainly contribute and I imagine there’s a real demand out there.
We were thinking of this post as the first step, to inform our readers that the site currently runs on no sustained funding. We still need to figure out the logistics of a crowd funding appeal, but expect to hear from us soon.
I wonder if there is a way to crowdfund institutional support. York University’s Department of History has provided a small contribution to ActiveHistory.ca, but I wonder if there are other departments that would be willing to chip in. The CHA might also be a good option for a small contribution.