How You Can Help

If you would like to support the project, please visit our Patreon page to make a contribution.

We’re always either on the river doing fieldwork or preparing for next year’s expedition. So your help is always appreciated. There are lots of ways to support the project.

Rooted in the DIY and art worlds, by any real world standards, the Secret History project has a humble budget of around $20K. That seems like a lot until you consider that another modest project on this scale might easily top $100K.

Always looming are the costs of transportation, supplies, gas, food, and paying the artists so they have a home to come back to. Each year we’ve raised thousands of dollars with our Kickstarter campaigns, thanks to our backers and supporters! These funds cover many of the basic travel expenses for our trip, helps pay for final outfitting of the shantyboat, and makes sure we have decent audio-video and digital equipment to record our interviews in the river communities we visit.

Donate to the Project

Secret History is largely a donation-funded project and your contribution directly supports our fieldwork. Please visit our Patreon page to make a contribution.

Annual Campaign

We have successfully completed our annual spring Kickstarter campaign. This is our big crowdsourcing effort. We now have six years of successful fundraisers behind us thanks to your help!

Kickstarter page:

One-Time Contribution

Your one-time contribution can help us get over the temporary hurdles, motor repairs, auto troubles, and inevitable travel expenses. This is a good option if you want to help when we are not doing our spring fundraiser.

donate with PayPal

Continued Support

While we focus on fieldwork during the summer, the project is year-round. When we are not on the river, we are busy doing production, writing books, exhibiting the project, maintaining the boat, and planning the next exhibition. Therefore your continuing monthly support is extremely helpful.

Become a Patron

We Need Your River Connections

I am particularly interested in people who have stories or research about working-class or displaced people living on or adjacent to the river. We’ve visited the Upper Mississippi and the Tennessee River and are headed to the Sacramento River. What critical resources or collections around shantyboat or bottomland communities do you know about?  Do you have connections to people whose voice is not typically heard in the dominant narrative of history.


We Need Help Outfitting the Shantyboat

We’re still looking for specific supplies, and have a Secret History Wishlist stocked with everything up to and including a kitchen sink. This is your chance to vicariously float along with us! Each item off of our wishlist gets delivered to our door, and labelled with the name of the generous donor (that’s you!). Check out the Secret History Wishlist and see if there is anything that you would like to send us.

Generous Supporters Have Send Us Equipment Directly
Generous supporters send us equipment directly.
Any equipment you donate will forever bear your name.


See who helps make this project possible: Our acknowledgments.

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