Danny J. Bonenberger, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Historic Preservation

Danny Bonenberger Strong Hall 140I




Ph.D. in Geography, 2019, West Virginia University
Master's in History, 1997, West Virginia University
Bachelor's in History, 1993, West Virginia University

Interests and Expertise

Common places, buildings, people, and landscapes at the intersection of historic preservation, cultural geography, and digital cultural heritage. Current research in virtual heritage draws upon the latest theory and practice in these fields to integrate GIS, 3-D modeling, and serious games as a means to explore the sensuous and emotional aspects of place revealed in the literary realism of American author Rebecca Harding Davis (1831-1910).

Heritage recording, documentation, and information management
Digital heritage, virtual heritage, and serious games
Historic and cultural landscapes
Humanities GIS, Critical GIS and geovisualization
19th-century urban historical geography
Sensuous and intangible cultural heritage
American vernacular architecture


  • GHPR 400/500 Cultural History of American Architecture
  • GHPR 450/550 Digital Cultural Heritage
  • GHPR 475 Architectural Nomenclature
  • GHPR 547 Problems in Architectural Interpretation
  • GEOG 548 American Vernacular Architecture
  • GHPR 551 Historic Building Systems
  • GHPR 572 Funding Preservation Projects
  • GHPR 630 Documenting and Recording Historic Places
  • GHPR 636 Historic Preservation Field School

Teaching Experience

  • Associate Professor of Historic Preservation, 2013-present. Department of Geography and Geology, Eastern Michigan University; Assistant Professor, 2008-13.
  • Ph.D. in Human Geography and Geographic Information Science, 2019. Department of Geology and Geography, West Virginia University; Graduate Research Assistant, 2005-08.
  • President, 2006-08. National Road Alliance, Inc.; Chair, Preservation Committee 9/2003 to 11/2007; Board of Directors 1/1999 to 5/2008
  • Associate Director, Institute for the History of Technology and Industrial Archaeology. 2000-05. West Virginia University; Research Manager 1998-1999; Research Associate 1997-1998; Graduate Research Assistant 1994-1997.
  • M.A. History, 1997. West Virginia University.
  • Field Supervisor, 1997. National Park Service – Heritage Documentation Programs; Historian, 1995, 1996.

Recent Papers and Publications

Trevor M. Harris, H. Frank Lefone, and Dan Bonenberger. forthcoming 2015. Beyond mapping text in space to experiencing text in place: exploring literary virtual geographies, in P. Murrieta Flores, D. Cooper, and C. Donaldson, eds., Literary Mapping in the Digital Age. Ashgate Publishing.

Dan Bonenberger and Trevor M. Harris. 2013. Placing Virtual Heritage: Reconciling virtual and cultural heritage with the spatial turn. Digital Heritage: Proceedings of the First Digital Heritage International Congress. Vol.2. IEEE.

Dan Bonenberger and Trevor M. Harris. 2012. Placing Virtual Heritage: Cultural Heritage, Serious Games, and Spatial Storytelling. Unpublished paper presented at Chicago Symposium on Digital Humanities and Computer Science.

Dan Bonenberger and Trevor M. Harris. 2010. Recording and exploring historic places with serious gaming engines and geographic information systems. Poster presented at Heritage Recording and Information Management in the Digital Age (SMARTdoc), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

_____. 2009. The Invisible Streetscape: Vernacular buildings and being in 1850s Wheeling. Paper presented at the joint conference of the Pioneer America Society and the Eastern Historical Geography Association, Pipestem, West Virginia.

Trevor M. Harris, J. Rouse, S. Bergeron and D. Bonenberger. 2008. Immersive and experiential GIS and the Humanities, Unpublished paper presented at Historical GIS 2008, University of Essex, England.

Dan Bonenberger. 2008. Computer Applications in Historic Preservation: Panacea or Pandemic? Unpublished paper presented at the National Preservation Conference, Tulsa, Oklahoma.