Jon Berndt Olsen is an Associate Professor of History and Co-Director of the UMass Digital Humanities Initiative at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he teaches courses in the fields of Public History, Digital History, German and European history. Jon holds a Ph.D. in German history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an M.A. in German and European Studies from Georgetown University. He completed his undergraduate degree at St. Olaf College. In addition to his academic training, Jon worked in Germany for the Haus der Geschichte museums in Bonn and Leipzig as well as for Markus Meckel, a member of the German Parliament, assisting him with his work on a special parliamentary commission looking into the crimes of the East German dictatorship.
Jon’s research focuses primarily on issues of collective memory and function of monuments, museums, and commemorations in shaping national memory cultures in post-war Germany. His current research continues to focus on memory politics in Germany and has begun a new book-length research project on the history of tourism in East Germany.
Jon has also contributed and managed many digital history projects, including the website “Making the History of 1989” and a smartphone walking tour of Amherst, Massachusetts during the Civil War era.