Road Trip to Public History Showcases Historic Research

Monday, March 24, 2014

The University of West Georgia Center for Public History annual student showcase is set for Thursday, March 27, 2014, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. in Ingram Library. This year’s event, titled “Road Trip: Experience Public History Partnerships,” is free and open to the public and will feature a compilation of student research projects, exhibits and presentations.

“We're really excited about sharing all of the incredible work that our students have done this year,” said Dusty Marie Dye, assistant director for UWG’s Center for Public History. “We've partnered with local communities and organizations like the Georgia Humanities Council, the National Park Service and the Georgia Department of Transportation on a variety of projects, from exhibits and artifact scanning to statewide public programs.”

Students will make informal presentations every 30 minutes during the showcase. Visitors are invited to enter to win door prizes and enjoy refreshments while leisurely perusing the exhibits. A full explanation of exhibits is detailed below.

“We've done a lot of work within our university to include students from outside the history department on our projects,” said Dye. “This year, we'll be focusing on how our students, and those who might be interested in working with us, can use a variety of talents, from business and organizational skills to graphic design, to share the history and culture of west Georgia with the public.”

Below is a detailed list of the showcases.

The West Georgia Textile Heritage Trail
The West Georgia Textile Heritage Trail is an initiative undertaken by the Center for Public History in collaboration with communities lying along Highway 27 from Dalton to Columbus to identify, preserve and interpret historic resources relating to the vital role that textile production has played in the history of the west Georgia region.

National Park Service Partnerships
The center has undertaken several projects in partnership with the National Park Service this year. Two students are currently working at the Southeast Regional Office to help process archival collections, while other staff members have done work with the Trail of Tears, composing administrative histories for the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site and Shenandoah National Park, and drafting a video about the mission and work of the Southeast Office’s Cultural Resources Division.

Georgia Humanities Council Partnership
This year, as in past years, the center has a graduate research assistant working at the Georgia Humanities Council, principally assisting in coordinating events related to GAH’s participation in the Museum on Mainstreet Program, a partnership between the Smithsonian Institution and state humanities councils. The project this year has focused on the final leg of the state tour of New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music and on beginning preparation for the Georgia tour of the Smithsonian’s latest travelling exhibit, Hometown Teams.

Department of Transportation Partnerships
The Center for Public History works with the Department of Transportation in various ways to help mitigate the impact of DOT projects on historic resources. The center is currently working with the city of Albany, Ga., on another exhibit that will document the history of the recently demolished Broad Avenue Memorial Bridge as well as highlight the importance of the Flint River in the city’s history and ecology.

Archiving and Electronic Databases
Because the Center keeps an extensive archive of both paper and digital files, along with a few artifacts, it has staff members constantly working on organizing files to make it easier for researchers to use them in the course of historic study and the development of public history projects. In addition to having one student serve as our archivist, there is a student reworking the entirety of our electronic database and devising a new organizational scheme for the digital files.

Regional Music Project
The Regional Music Project is an ongoing project at the Center for Public History that documents the distinctive musical culture of the west Georgia region. This year, the work has continued on shape note singing traditions, both seven-note and four-note, by publishing a website dedicated to the subject.

Bandy Heritage Center
The Center for Public History is working with the Bandy Heritage Center in Dalton, Ga., to develop materials to accompany an upcoming exhibit on the history of the carpet industry in the area. Most recently, our focus has been to develop lesson plans and activities to complement the exhibit and assist teachers in focusing on the Georgia Performance Standards that the exhibit highlights.

Undergraduate Research Assistants
The center employs undergraduate research assistants and work study students. The undergraduates assist the center with a variety of projects, including doing research for an upcoming Arcadia book on the West Georgia Textile Heritage Trail, assisting with the maintenance of our various websites and social media outlets, and even helping to plan and prepare for the showcase.

Southeastern Quilt and Textile Museum
One of the center’s graduate research assistants works as the director of the Southeastern Quilt and Textile Museum in Carrollton, Ga. In addition to coordinating staff and volunteers, the student also helps to plan and install exhibits, coordinate public events, and works closely with the museum’s board to help develop and sustain the museum.

Art Department Independent Study
The center has two students from UWG’s art department working to produce materials for the second annual Textile Heritage Trail Conference in LaGrange, Ga. They have designed everything from the center’s nametags and conference bags to limited edition bookmarks related to Georgia’s historic textile industry.

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