Professor and Director of the Public History Center

Biography

Fields of Study:  Public History, American Women, Early American History, American Architecture, American Material Culture

Dr. McCleary’s research interests focus on American social and cultural history, especially material culture, vernacular architecture, women’s history, rural history, American folklife, and oral history. She has written numerous articles on the vernacular architecture and cultural history of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Her current interests are in twentieth-century rural life; she is working on a book examining the impact of the home demonstration movement on rural women and housing in Virginia during the 1920s and 1930s. Dr. McCleary coordinates the Public History program and the Museum Studies Certificate program. She co-teaches the courses in Museum Studies at the Atlanta History Center, having worked for many years in the museum community in Virginia and as more recently as a museum consultant. In her role as Director of the Center for Public History, Dr. McCleary has overseen a variety of research projects focusing on the history and culture of the Georgia Piedmont. She directs an on-going oral history program of this region and is currently directing grants documenting both music and baking traditions.

Education / Degrees

  • B.A., History, Occidental College, 1976
  • M.A., American Civilization, Brown University, 1977
  • Ph.D., American Civilization, Brown University, 1996
  • Courses Taught
  • Course Sections and Syllabi

    Fall 2017 Sections

    Summer 2017 Sections

    • HIST-4486 (Public History Internship) Section: 81
    • HIST-4486 (Public History Internship) Section: 81D
    • HIST-6302 (Collections Mgmt in Museums) Section: 81 Download Syllabus [PDF]
    • HIST-6304 (Museum Exhibits) Section: E01
    • HIST-6486 (Public History Internship) Section: 01D
    • HIST-6486 (Public History Internship) Section: 81
    • HIST-6699 (Thesis) Section: N01
    • HIST-6699 (Thesis) Section: 01D

    Spring 2017 Sections

    Fall 2016 Sections

    • HIST-4486 (Public History Internship) Section: 01D Download Syllabus [PDF]
    • HIST-4486 (Public History Internship) Section: 01 Download Syllabus [PDF]
    • HIST-6203 (Studies/Rsrch in Amer Folklife) Section: 01 Download Syllabus [PDF]
    • HIST-6304 (Exhibits at Museums/Hist Sites) Section: 81 Download Syllabus [PDF]
    • HIST-6486 (Public History Internship) Section: 01
    • HIST-6486 (Public History Internship) Section: 01D
    • HIST-6699 (Thesis) Section: 01D
    • HIST-6699 (Thesis II) Section: 02D

    Summer 2016 Sections

    • HIST-4486 (Public History Internship) Section: 01
    • HIST-6486 (Public History Internship) Section: 01D
    • HIST-6486 (Public History Internship) Section: 01
    • HIST-6699 (Thesis) Section: 01D

    Spring 2016 Sections

    • HIST-4486 (Public History Internship) Section: 01
    • HIST-6202 (Thry/Mthd Material Cult Stdy) Section: 01 Download Syllabus [PDF]
    • HIST-6486 (Public History Internship) Section: 01
    • HIST-6687 (Intro to Public History) Section: 02 Download Syllabus [PDF]
    • HIST-6699 (Thesis) Section: 01D

    Fall 2015 Sections

    • ART-4295 (Special Topics in Art History) Section: 01W
    • HIST-4404 (Hist of Amer Architecture) Section: 01W
    • HIST-4486 (Public History Internship) Section: 01 Download Syllabus [PDF]
    • HIST-4486 (Public History Internship) Section: 03 Download Syllabus [PDF]
    • HIST-5404 (Hist of American Architecture) Section: 01
    • HIST-6301 (Adm of Museums/Historic Sites) Section: 81 Download Syllabus [PDF]
    • HIST-6486 (Public History Internship) Section: 01 Download Syllabus [PDF]

    Summer 2015 Sections

    • HIST-4486 (Public History Internship) Section: 01
    • HIST-6302 (Collections Mgmt in Museums) Section: 81
    • HIST-6486 (Public History Internship) Section: 01
    • HIST-6699 (Thesis) Section: 01
    • HIST-6699 (Thesis) Section: 05

    Spring 2015 Sections

    Fall 2014 Sections

    Summer 2014 Sections

    • HIST-4486 (Public History Internship) Section: 81
    • HIST-6486 (Public History Internship) Section: 81

    Fall 2013 Sections

    Summer 2013 Sections

    • HIST-6302 (Collections Mgmt in Museums) Section: 81
    • HIST-6699 (Thesis) Section: 01
    • HIST-6699 (Thesis) Section: 05

    Spring 2013 Sections

  • Publication List

    Food, Family, and Community: A Collection of Georgia Memories. (Georgia Humanities Council, 2008).

    "Negotiating the Urban Marketplace: Farm Women's Curb Markets in the 1930s," in Vernacular Architecture Forum Perspectives, summer 2007.

    “Powder Springs Has Some Deep Roots In It”: An Oral History Portrait of an African American Community, with Catherine Hendricks and Stephanie Wright, published by the Center for Public History, University of West Georgia, May 2007.

    “From Old-Time Country to Gospel: Preserving the Music Traditions of Western Georgia,” Georgia Music Magazine, Summer 2007.

    "Seizing the Opportunity: Home Demonstration Curb Markets in Virginia," in Melissa Walker and Rebecca Sharpless, Work, Family, and Faith: Rural Southern Women in the Twentieth Century (Missouri, 2006).

    "Developing Collaborative Public History Projects," with Pam Meister in Perspectives, February 2005.

    "Forging a Regional Identity: The Development of Rural Vernacular Architecture in the Central Shenandoah Valley, 1790-1850," in Kenneth Kooks and Warren Hofstra, editors, After the Backcountry, University of Tennessee Press, 2000.

    "Changing Times: Stories and Images of Carroll County through the Twentieth Century," Georgia Heritage, Spring 2000.

    "Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Warm Springs, and the New Deal in Georgia" and the "Eleanor Roosevelt School" in Cotton Mills, Planned Communities, and the New Deal: Vernacular Architecture and Landscapes of the New South, Vernacular Architecture Forum, May

    "'A Highly Prosperous Village:’ A History of Mt. Sidney,” Augusta County Historical Bulletin, Augusta County Historical Society, Fall 1998.

    "Home Demonstration Women Go to Market," Augusta County Historical Bulletin, Augusta County Historical Society, May 1998.

    "Ethnic Influences on the Early Architecture of the Shenandoah Valley," in Michael Puglisi, Diversity and Accommodation: Essays on the Cultural Composition of the Virginia Frontier, University of Tennessee Press, 1997.

    "Portrait of a River Town: Port Republic, Virginia," Potomac Chronicle I, Vol 1, Winter 1995.

    "Folklore of Games: Classroom Suggestions," Stitches: Newsletter for the Appalachian Teachers' Network, April 1993.

    "Improving the Country Home: Elsie Moffett, the Tuesday Club, and the Establishment of Home Demonstration Work in Augusta County," Augusta County Historical Bulletin, Spring 1993.

    "The Plecker-Wise House," Augusta County Historical Bulletin 26, Fall 1990.

    "Augusta County Schools Selected for State's First Thematic Nomination," Notes on Virginia, Virginia Department of Historic Resources, Spring 1985.

    "Public Education in Augusta County, Parts I-III" Augusta County Historical Bulletin, Spring 1985, Fall 1985, Spring 1986.

    "Preach a Little, Paint a Little, and Drink a Little: The Work of Green Berry Jones," Augusta County Historical Bulletin, 1986.

    The Shenandoah Valley Regional Preservation Plan, Virginia Department of Historic Resources, Richmond, VA, 1985.

    Historic Resources of Augusta County, Virginia, Eighteenth Century to Present, Virginia Department of Historic Resources, 1983.

    "Doing the Carpentry and Joiners Work," Augusta County Historical Bulletin, Spring 1983.

    "Old Houses of Augusta County," Augusta County Historical Bulletin, Fall 1983.

    "Vernacular Architecture and the Archaeologist," Proceedings from the Conference on Uplands Archaeology, James Madison University, 1983.

    "Domesticity and the Farm Woman," Perspectives in Vernacular Architecture I, University of Missouri Press, 1982.

  • Other Information

    Exhibits curated and other museum research projects and experience

    Co-curator, with Nancy Sorrells, “Reform on the Farm: Extension Work in Augusta County in the 1930s,” Smith Center for Regional History and Art, Staunton, Virginia, March through September 2007.

    Head curator, with Melissa Buchanan, "Spinning Yarns: The Textile and Apparel Industry in West Georgia," produced by the Center for Public History, February 2007.

    Project director and head curator, “Powder Springs Has Some Deep Roots In It”: An Oral History Portrait of an African American Community,” funded by the City of Powder Springs and the Department of Transportation, with Catherine Hendricks and Stephanie Wright, produced by the Center for Public History, May 2007.

    Head curator, "It was passed down from generation to generation:' Baking Traditions in the West Georgia Piedmont," produced by the Center for Public History, 2004.

    Visiting Curator, Glenn Burnie Museum, Winchester, Virginia, fall 2000-2, research and curatorial assistance for two exhibit vignettes on Shenandoah Valley housing and home life during the 19th and 20th centuries.

    Head curator, "Changing Times: Stories and Images of Carroll County through the Twentieth Century," Center for Public History, 1999.

    Head curator, University History exhibits, State University of West Georgia, 1998-2000.

    Research and script writing for exhibit on Martha Berry, Oak Hill Museum, Rome, Georgia, under contract by EXPLUS Incorporated Exhibit Design Co., Dulles, VA, September 1997-May 1998.

    Curator of Research and Programs and Chief Curator, Museum of American Frontier Culture, Staunton, Virginia, 1985-1992.

    Research Consultant, NEH exhibit project on the crafts revival in the southeastern United States, 1900-1940, McKissick Museum, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, May-November 1995.

    Research Consultant, "History of Staunton and the Presbyterian Manse in the 1850s," Woodrow Wilson Birthplace and Museum, Staunton, Virginia, Winter 1996.

    Visiting Curator, "Keeping Traditions Alive: Folk Crafts in the Shenandoah Valley," Harrisonburg Rockingham County Historical Society, January through June 1993.

    Public programs developed and directed through the Center for Public History

    Southern Baking Traditions, 2002-present

    Powder Springs Community Study, 2006-2007

    Textile Mill history of West Georgia, 2005-present

    Regional Music Project, 2000-present

    Williams-Mitchell Farm Interpretive Plan, 2004-6

    Banning Textile Mill documentation project, Allen Foundation, September 1999 to 2004:

    Carroll County Middle Schools Oral History Project, April 2001-2006

    Teacher Activities Packet Production: "Changing Times: Studying Communities in Carroll County," funded by the Georgia Humanities Council and the SUWG College of Education, January through December 2001

    Carroll County Rural Heritage Project, 1999-2003

    Oral history project: "Examining Carroll County's Experiences during the Second World War," January 1999 to June 1999

    University Oral History project, 2000-2002

    Public history programs developed and directed outside Georgia

    Project Director, "The Future of Rural Virginia," Virginia Foundation for Humanities and Public Policy, Charlottesville, VA, October 1996-June 1997.

    Developed and taught course on "Early Life in the Shenandoah Valley" for an annual summer intergenerational elderhostel, Massanetta Springs Conference Center, Harrisonburg, Virginia, July 1994 through July 1999

    Developed and led tour of Augusta County architecture for "18th and 19th Century Virginia Architecture," University of Virginia Continuing Education, June 1998.  

    Planned, coordinated, and taught summer teachers institute on "Rural Life and Traditional Arts in the Shenandoah Valley," funded by the Virginia Foundation for Humanities and the Virginia Commission for the Arts, at James Madison University, June 1997

    Coordinated two days of field trips on 19th century Shenandoah Valley architecture and traditional arts for the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts Summer Institute on the Southern Backcountry, July 1994 and July 1997; presentation at the 2000 Institute in Winston-Salem, NC

    Developed and led one-day study tours for the Smithsonian Associates Programs on various topics, including the Germany and Scots-Irish legacy of the Shenandoah Valley, Maple-Sugar making in Monterey County, Changing Agricultural Practices in the Shenandoah Valley, and others, 1988 through 1997

    Developed and taught annual summer course on American history for an international exchange program at Mary Baldwin College, with students from Doshisha Women's College (Kyoto, Japan), annually from August 1992 to August 1998

    Historic Preservation Work Experience

    Architectural Historian, Virginia Department of Historic Resources, in field office at James Madison University, Harrisonburg, 1978-1985.

    Architectural survey, historical research, and preparation of a National Register nomination for the village of Mt. Sidney, Augusta County, Virginia, for the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, September 1997-May 1999.

    Supervision of architectural survey and survey report preparation for the town of Monterey, Highland County, Virginia, funded by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, September 1996-August 1997

    Participant in interdisciplinary team, with an archaeologist and Civil War historian, in preparing a national register historic district nomination for the Cool Springs Battlefield, Clarke County, VA., Spring and summer 1995

    Prepared architectural history documentation and conducted historical research for numerous Section 106 review projects for the Archaeology Lab, Department of Anthropology, James Madison University, 1980-1996.