Michael Newbury and Daniel Houghton (Middlebury College)
Though mostly forgotten today, the Collinwood School fire of 1908 killed 172 grade-school children and raised an international clamor for the redesign of school buildings. A team of faculty, staff, and students at Middlebury College have tied together short computer-animated movie, archival footage, advertisements, and photographs to create a multimedia platform for nonfiction storytelling about the fire and events surrounding it. Far from aspiring to conclusiveness, the project highlights the uncertainties of understanding that emerged in the past and what can only be partially known in the present, as narration shifts between the real and the and the animated, the photographic and the computer-generated, historical sources and their limitations.
Michael Newbury is Fletcher Proctor Professor of American Studies at Middlebury College and teaches in the American Studies Program and the English Department. He has published on subjects ranging from the history of authorship to contemporary zombie movies. Some teaching interests include the history of disaster, science fiction, graphic novels, and other genre fiction.