Ben McMahen, who is a product developer, and the Eugenics Archive Technical Team paired with Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada to create the Eugenics Archive (refer to screenshot of the homepage below). The Eugenics Archive Technical Team consists of several positions, such as film translators, research assistants, and MA/ PhD students. The site is completed due to its display of a finalized compile of information and accessible databases. According to The Public Historian, this site would be considered an archive. This site includes an array of sources that include primary sources, secondary sources, and video content. I chose to review this archive because many are unaware of this time period and how it affected the social class in the United States and other parts of the world. I was quite interested to learn about how a formulated ideology influenced the way society created legislation and established social status. 

Eugenics Archive Homepage

The scope of the Eugenics archive covers in-depth information of not only the Eugenic Movement, but also the concept of eugenics in its entirety. Content spans from 1830 to 2010. The digital archive discusses how eugenics affected all parts the world. The site is geared toward the general audience public. The layout of the site is not designed to create an actual lesson plan. However, teachers could use this site to guide lectures on individual eugenic advocates, such as Alexander Graham Bell, that could enhance the learning of their students. The archive ultimately contains content that provides in-depth data pertaining to the eugenics that can educate a person who is not familiar with the movement. It serves as a historical introduction to eugenics. The archive allows for readers to grasp the fundamentals of the time period, but it does not display research of a specific historian. Students can use this archive to include specific evidence on prominent figures and historical institutes.The site’s purpose can be described as raising awareness on the concept of eugenics and how the Eugenics movement impacted the lives of individual in society on a global scale.


The digital archive has an array of material on its site. Materials present within the archive are divided into twelve categories. A few of my favorite categories include: Timeline, Players, and Pathways. The timeline starts in the 1830 and ends in 2010. It features specific moments surrounding eugenics and is accompanied by an article that gives further detail. The articles also includes the references that it used, which allows for researchers to expand their resource repertoire. The category of Players is a compile of key figures that have made contributions to the Eugenics Movement, such as Charles Davenport and John Harvey Kellogg. This specific category includes, not only brief biographies of each person, but also provides an article to discuss their role in the eugenics field (refer to the screenshot below). Pathways creates correlations between aspects such as 20th -century key points, social policies, and impactful figures at a specific timeframe. For instance, I learned which U.S. states passed sterilization laws. Information within the archive originates from different sources, thus creating a holistic approach toward the topic.

Prominent Individuals of the Eugenics Movement

However, most of the content centers around Canada. This aspect would cause a student who is solely focused on the eugenics in the United States to look elsewhere for more detailed information. Despite the mentioned critique, the digital archive has easy navigation. The categories effectively organize content and specific data is color coded to eliminate any misinterpretation (see division of categories below). The maps provided on the site makes it easier to grasp the information being discussed because there is a clear representation of where a given asylum or institution is located. Also, the use of captions allows for readers to sufficiently obtain the narrative created by the digital archive. The design and features present on the site enhanced my experience. The existence of a drop-down bar allows for an easy transitions between categories and navigation throughout the site. Based on the combination of existing features, I would not remove or add anything to the digital archive.

Twelve Categories of the Archive

With all things considered, the site is extremely effective in its usage of digital technology. The archive’s creative implementation of primary sources and secondary articles parallels what could be done in a museum exhibit. However, the interactive elements, such as the multiple ways to organize information on the timeline, adds a level of engagement that a textbook would not be able to achieve. There are several research topics that would be supported by the digital archive. Research questions may include: How did eugenics affect the type of legislation created during the 20th century? , How were asylums and institutions used to control population? , and How were racial stereotypes supported by the Eugenics movement? This digital archive compares to other effective sites that I have visited before due to it including a vast number of sources that delivers a story and credible data. I would return to this site for future papers because its content on the Eugenics movements is extensive and provides outlets for continuous research.

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