National Archives History Hub Recognized as 2017 Harvard Ash Center Bright Idea in Government
Press Release · Friday, February 3, 2017

Washington, DC

The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, announced the National Archives’ History Hub ( as part of the 2017 Bright Ideas in Government initiative. History Hub is part of a cohort that includes programs from all levels of government—school districts; county, city, state, federal agencies; and tribal nations as well as public-private partnerships—that represent the next horizon in government work to improve services, solve problems, and work on behalf of citizens.

In January 2016, after a year of research into other federal agencies’ approach to knowledge management and potential solutions, the National Archives embarked on a ground-breaking experiment with an innovative approach to improving customer service that leverages powerful crowdsourcing tools to deliver better answers—faster and more efficiently.

History Hub is a support community, hosted and managed by the National Archives, for researchers, citizen historians, archival professionals, genealogists, and open government advocates. This platform encourages the public to crowdsource research by giving them direct access to subject matter experts and is a place to ask questions, share information, work together, and find help based on experience and interests. History Hub offers tools like discussion boards, blogs, and community pages to bring together experts and researchers interested in American history.

"I'm pleased to see the National Archives' work recognized as a model for innovation in government,” said Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero. “History Hub's crowdsourcing platform helps the Archives to increase transparency and foster citizen participation with government. We are excited about the potential of this project and the opportunities to learn from it.”

“These programs demonstrate that there are no prerequisites for doing the good work of governing” said Stephen Goldsmith, director of the Innovations in American Government Program at the Ash Center, “small towns and massive cities, huge federal agencies and local school districts, large budgets or no budgets at all—what makes government work best is the drive to do better, and this group proves that drive can be found anywhere.”

This is the fifth cohort recognized through the Bright Ideas program, an initiative of the broader Innovations in American Government Awards program. For consideration as a Bright Idea, programs must currently be in operation or in the process of launching, have sufficient operational resources, and must be administered by one or more governmental entities; nonprofit, private sector, and union initiatives are eligible if operating in partnership with a governmental organization. Bright Ideas are showcased on the Ash Center’s Government Innovators Network, an online platform for practitioners and policymakers to share innovative public policy solutions.

Please visit the Government Innovators Network at for the full list of Bright Ideas programs and for more information regarding the Innovations in American Government Awards.


About the U.S. National Archives

The National Archives and Records Administration is an independent Federal agency that serves American democracy by safeguarding and preserving the records of our Government, so people can discover, use, and learn from this documentary heritage. The National Archives ensures continuing access to the essential documentation of the rights of American citizens and the actions of their government. From the Declaration of Independence to accounts of ordinary Americans, the holdings of the National Archives directly touch the lives of millions of people. The agency supports democracy, promotes civic education, and facilitates historical understanding of our national experience. The National Archives carries out its mission through a nationwide network of archives, records centers, and Presidential Libraries, and on the Internet at:


About the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation

The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation advances excellence in governance and strengthens democratic institutions worldwide. Through its research, education, international programs, and government innovations awards, the Center fosters creative and effective government problem solving and serves as a catalyst for addressing many of the most pressing needs of the world’s citizens. For more information, visit


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