New exhibit celebrating the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 begins to travel

24 Oct Featured Image -- 628

Written by graduate assistant Julie Maresco

For the past year, the Albert Gore Research Center has been working with MTSU’s public history program graduate students and faculty to curate a travelling exhibit celebrating the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) of 1966. The exhibit The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966: Commemorating 50 years of Preserving Tennessee’s Cultural Heritage consists of six panels that focus on the national, state, regional, and local impact of the NHPA and preservation efforts since the passing of the act.

Over the summer, AGRC graduate assistant Julie Maresco conducted research for the exhibit, collected images and graphics, and wrote the exhibit text. The exhibit team also included:

  • Dallas Hanbury, recent doctoral graduate of the public history program
  • Katherine Hatfield, graduate student
  • Dr. Bren Martin, Director of MTSU’s public history program
  • Dr. Antoinette van Zelm, Assistant Director, Center for Historic Preservation
  • Dr. Louis Kyriakoudes, Director…

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AGRC at the Oral History Association Conference

21 Oct

This is an interesting post from Julie Maresco of her time at the OHA Conference and online podcast. Be sure to read about it more at the Albert Gore Research Center’s blog site.

img_4510-1Julie Maresco Presenting her Poster at OHA 2016 Conference

Graduate assistant Julie Maresco traveled to Long Beach, CA from October 11-October 16, 2016 to present a poster at the Oral History Association (OHA) 2016 conference. Here she describes her work and experience:

“I was very fortunate to attend OHA’s 2016 conference in Long Beach, CA. I was really excited to present the work that I and other graduate students have done on our veterans oral history podcast Veterans Voices: Stories of ServiceThis was my first time presenting at a conference and my first time to OHA’s annual meeting.

Presenting this poster was important because this podcast means a lot to me. I believe these veterans have many interesting stories to tell. These veterans share stories not just about their military experience, but also stories about race, gender, class, PTSD, life before and after service, among many other topics. Creating…

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You are invited- October 22 and 29

21 Oct

Two free programs will be held for the Northeast Nashville Community History Project. This event is sponsored by the Center for Historic Preservation and the Nashville Public Library Special Collections. October 22 will feature presentations from our very own Dr. Louis Kyriakoudes and Dr. Louis Woods at the First Baptist East Church. The program for Oct. 29 will be held at the Nashville Public Library. Check out the flyer below for more details. Hope to see you there!


When Easter Holiday Rolls Around…

26 Apr

Ethan Morris, a graduate student in the public history program, is the first MTSU student to participate in the study abroad program at Northumbria University in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England! This week Ethan discusses a few vacation spots he recommends while visiting northern England!

When Easter Holiday Rolls Around…

I’m going to take a short break from commenting on coursework and internships, to discuss three trips that I recommend to anyone visiting northern England. At Northumbria University, Easter holiday is three weeks long. I can only assume that after two weeks of reading and writing papers, you may want to get out and about. If you can manage two train rides, a bus ride, a ferry ride, and then all of that again on the way home, then visit Cumbria’s Lake District. The Lake District is one of the National Trust’s most visited parks and constitutes some 885 square miles, includes numerous public paths through private land, and is so expansive that despite the crowds you sometimes believe you’ve got the whole place to yourself. While at the park, hike England’s highest mountain and drop by the homes of the poet William Wordsworth and the children’s author and illustrator Beatrix Potter (the creator of Peter Rabbit and an advocate for the National Trust).

After visiting the Lake District, take a trip to Cragside. Lord William George Armstrong, a nineteenth century inventor and arms manufacturer, built the home in 1863. It was the first home in the world to be powered by hydroelectric energy. The home’s stunning architecture and curious interior design reflect Armstrong’s inventive personality—the landscape does as well. Today, the property is covered in thick woodlands and full of caves, stone bridges, streams, tarns, and picturesque lakes. Most visitors would never guess that Armstrong designed each aspect of the environment. Believe it or not, the property was a treeless moor when Armstrong first encountered it many years ago. Only after 150 years is his dream fully realized. It’s simply breathtaking, and what’s more, it’s managed by the National Trust.

The last spot, interestingly enough, is not even in England. If you’re particularly fond of large cities, northern England may let you down, but the bustling city of Edinburgh, Scotland is a mere hour and half away by train. The railroad hugs the Northumberland coastline and offers some of the best views of the North Sea that you’ll find anywhere. Plan to spend a few days in Edinburgh; you’ll need it, and you won’t regret it. The city thrives on literary tourism. Indeed, the United Nations declared it the world’s first “City of Literature” in 2004. Visitors can drop by the birthplace of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (marked now by a statue of Sherlock Holmes), hike the 287 steps to the top of the Sir Walter Scott monument, traipse around Robert Louis Stevenson’s neighborhood, and sip espresso in the Elephant House café where J.K. Rowling penned the first lines of Harry Potter. After a day visiting the haunts of your favorite authors, check out Edinburgh’s many free museums. The conjoined National Gallery and the Royal Academy for the arts is a must as well as the Scottish National Museum (their new exhibit on Scottish history does an excellent job exploring Scottish cultural and political identity). For a museum student, Edinburgh is hard to beat.

CragsideEdinburghThe Lake District

-Ethan Morris, Public History Graduate Student

My Internship at the National Trust

10 Apr

Ethan Morris, a graduate student in the public history program, is the first MTSU student to participate in the study abroad program at Northumbria University in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England! This week Ethan discusses his work placement at the National Trust.


My Internship at the National Trust

               I suppose I’ve done two work placements this semester. The first at Bede’s World, which received coverage in past posts, and the second at the northeastern offices of the National Trust. The National Trust, founded in 1895, is the British equivalent of the United States’ National Park Service. Like the National Park Service, the Trust preserves historic homes, monuments, gardens, and landscapes. My two work placements have been part of one of my classes, Work Place Project. Similar to the summer internships we complete between our first and second years, Northumbria’s arts, media, and cultural management students complete a work placement in the semester before summer graduation.

            Dr. Susan Ashley and Ms. Jennifer Hinves team-teach Work Place Project. Teaching, however, is minimal. The class only meets three times. During the first two meetings, scheduled for the first two weeks of the semester, Dr. Ashley and Ms. Hinves led discussions over literature on cultural management. We also participated in a question-and-answer session with Nicholas Baumfeild, a senior administrator with the northern offices of Arts Council England. Arts Council England (the English equivalent of America’s National Endowment for the Arts) awards a significant portion of the Heritage Lottery Fund, which, as mentioned in a previous post, is the sum of all lottery ticket purchases in Britain. Furthermore, Dr. Ashley invited two other interested students and myself to an organizational meeting for the National Trust’s £7 million (nearly $10 million) project at Seaton Delaval Hall. The project intends to repair the hall, reimagine the site’s public programming, and engage new audiences. The project is a trial run for a number of ideas the Trust could implement nationally. At the time, I was simply interested in finding out as much about British organizations as possible. Little did I know that in two week’s time, Bede’s World would close, I would scramble, and Dr. Ashley would help me get a placement with the Trust. Before I detail my responsibilities with the Trust, let me say a bit more about the course. Students spend much of the semester, up to eight weeks, completing a work placement. While we work, we are (1) required to study our organization’s management structure and (2) plan a project that will involve our working with management to contribute to our organization’s mission. At the end of the eight week work placement, we will submit a 5,000-word report on all that we observed and contributed. During the final class meeting, each student will deliver a short presentation on their work placement.

            I am excited about working with the Trust. I split my time between working at Seaton Delaval Hall, which sets along the coast near the town of Seaton Sluice, and working from home. At Seaton Delaval Hall, I serve as the volunteer coordinator, a task I share with a classmate who is also doing her work placement with the Trust. We are inputing volunteer data into the Trust’s management software (designed by Blackbaud), helping volunteers begin to use the software, planning ways to recruit new volunteers from varying age and interest brackets, and training volunteers on audience engagement strategies. When I’m not working as a volunteer coordinator, I am helping the Trust’s grant writer and project leaders organize the Trust’s work placement program. Hopefully, the work placement options I am helping to create will be ready for interested students by the time you consider hopping the pond. You’ll have to let me know how it turns out.


DSCN8809Ethan Working at Seaton Delaval Hall


DSCN8818%20%281%29Seaton Delaval Hall

IMG_2471The view from Ethan’s desk

-Ethan Morris, Public History Graduate Student

“I would title the blog ‘A Day in the Life,’ but then I’d have to footnote that”

26 Mar

Ethan Morris, a graduate student in the public history program, is the first MTSU student to participate in the study abroad program at Northumbria University in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England! This week’s blog post is about Ethan’s coursework and navigating the new school system.


“I would title the blog ‘A Day in the Life,’ but then I’d have to footnote that”

When in England, do as the English, or at least spend some time studying English history. One of my classes this semester is entitled, “The British Empire and Its Imperial Rivals.” The course is taught by Dr. Joe Hardwick, who completed his master’s degree at Michigan State and specializes in politics, reform, and religion in the British Empire. My fellow students also have diverse interests, and a few research American Western films, the Black Panther Party, and Lyndon Johnson’s foreign policy. The class meets Monday afternoons, and we spend a couple of hours discussing several primary and secondary sources. Dr. Hardwick organizes the class topically, and we discuss the Empire and race, genocide, gender, religion, the environment, and the list goes on. As an intellectual exercise, we even participated in a debate over whether British imperialism was justifiable. The class is now transitioning into making comparisons between the British Empire and the French, Ottoman, and American empires. Outside of discussion, we are assigned to write two 1,000-word primary source analyses and one 4,000-word research paper comparing the British Empire with one of its rivals. I will likely write my final paper comparing Protestant America’s reactions to Filipino Catholicism in the Spanish-American War to British Anglicans’ reactions to Dutch Calvinist Boers in the Anglo-Boer Wars in South Africa. The idea needs further refinement, but the readings so far have been intriguing.

Most of my difficulties arise out of my attempts to navigate the British grading system. When I turn in an assignment in the States, I’ll either upload the document to D2L or send it via email. At Northumbria, I am required to submit the assignment online through a Turnitin link on Blackboard. For those of you unfamiliar with Turnitin, it’s a popular plagiarism prevention software. After I submit the assignment online, I must hand in a hardcopy to the Student Administration and Support Centre (SASC). SASC serves as a collection and distribution center for all the hardcopies students turn in. The folks at SASC accept students’ assignments and send out the papers to reviewers. Coming from America, it was a bit of shock to discover that many of my assignments were peer-reviewed. Sometimes, your actual professor is joined by a teaching assistant for a review team of two. At other times, your professor reviews your work alongside four of five professors from across England. An assignment is serious business. The review process certainly encourages students to read, and reread, the rubric. Moreover, the review process is likely why British professors assign fewer papers. It usually takes about three weeks for the reviewers to finish grading and return the papers back to SASC. At that pace, weekly assignments would be a bureaucrat’s nightmare. Once the paper is graded, and SASC emails you that you can come and pick your paper up, you still must deal with a different marking system. I received a 61% on my last paper. In America, a 61% is a D and something to worry about. In England, a 61% is considered commendable and similar to an American B. Once you get used to the British grading system, it’s not all that bad. But, I’m still getting used to the system, and I only have a little over two months left.

Squire%27s%20Annex.JPG The above building is Squire’s Annex, where Dr. Hardwick’s class meets.

East%20Campus.JPGThe new law and business school on East Campus. Many of Northumbria’s public lectures are hosted in this complex.

LibraryThe Northumbria Library

-Ethan Morris, Public History Graduate Student


A Question of Cash

14 Mar

Ethan Morris, a graduate student in the public history program, is the first MTSU student to participate in the study abroad program at Northumbria University in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England! This week’s blog post is about Bede’s World Museum, where Ethan was planning on completing his internship while abroad in Newcastle.


A Question of Cash


Two weeks ago, Bede’s World Museum closed its doors for lack of funds, and now, local papers claim it will reopen. I’ve never witnessed anything like it, and in my opinion, the whole affair is uniquely British. The closure is an example of a troublesome trend. As public funding declines, museums like Bede’s World slowly die from financial starvation. On the other hand, the possible reopening of Bede’s World is a rebirth of sorts, as British museum professionals begin to explore funding options in the private sector.

            I’ll begin with the context of the closure. Like many of England’s cultural organizations, Bede’s World receives much of its funding from the national government or the Heritage Lottery Fund (funds collected from the nationwide sale of lottery tickets). National funding is unfortunately on the decline. Worse still, the northeast is extremely underfunded. The most recent national budget allocated £775 million to cultural organizations. Although it seems like a great deal of money, the budget is a 5% reduction over past years, and most of the money (71%) will remain in the Greater London area. Britain’s Department for Culture, Media, and Sport and Arts Council England spend a combined £68.99 per Londoner and £4.58 on everyone else. The national distribution of funds are not even proportional to the amount spent on culture. While London’s Westminster residents contribute £14.5 million to the arts, they receive £408 million in return. In contrast, locals of County Durham (the county directly below Northumberland) spend £34 million on culture and reap £12 million in lottery funds. Journalist Ben Myers calls its the “North-South divide” (For more on Myer’s thoughts, read his article in the New Statesman). Bede’s World did not start out on pennies. Nearly twenty years ago, Bede’s World opened an impressive new facility that cost somewhere in the ballpark of £10 million. Yet, the staff seemed to depend on government funding for most of their projects. Government budgets change over twenty years, and Bede’s World did not weather the storm.

            It is surprising then, that Bede’s World may get another chance at life. A local charity known as Groundwork stepped up to save the museum. It is important to note that Groundwork is a private sector organization. You may not be surprised by that fact, and rightly so, we’re Americans. The majority of American museum professionals realized long ago they could not depend on federal funding. Most historic homes, for example, struggle along on donations from local charitable foundations, businesses, visitors, or city councils. You won’t catch the staff of most historic homes busily sending in applications to the National Endowment for the Humanities. The British, in contrast, while used to donating to medical foundations (like we give to the American Cancer Society) are not accustomed to donating to museums. A British museum professional generally applies for government funding first, and then, if funds are still needed, searches out local donors. Yet, the closure of Bede’s World is one of many catalysts forcing the British to rethink their funding strategies. Some are studying American models of fundraising. Indeed, a friend taking Northumbria University’s Philanthropy and Fundraising course tells me she is constantly assigned readings on American models of fundraising. I’m witnessing a shift in the mindset of British museum professionals, from a dependence on the government (represented by faraway London) toward a reliance on the community. For more information, and a look at my sources, check out Nick Clark’s article in the Independent and Matthew Hemley’s article in The Stage.St.%20Paul%27s%20MonasteryBede’s World hosts programs at St. Paul’s Monastery, the same church the Venerable Bede’ worked in some 1,300 years ago.


Anglo-Saxon%20VillageBede’s World’s recreated Anglo-Saxon village


DocksThe docks along the Tyne River, across from Bede’s World and the working-class town of Jarrow

-Ethan Morris, Public History Graduate Student