Early Bird Registration Open for Slave Dwelling Project Conference

Early bird registration is now open for the 5th Annual Slave Dwelling Project Conference, to be held at Middle Tennessee State University from October 24-27, 2018. Go to this link to learn more, and be sure to register by August 15 for the early bird discount. The theme of the 2018 conference is “Slavery, Resistance, and Community,” which will provide an excellent forum for discussing the history of slavery, as well as the ongoing challenges faced by our multi-ethnic democracy in the twenty-first century. Conference highlights will include a keynote by Colson Whitehead, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Underground Railroad, and a performance by the Fisk Jubilee Singers. A preliminary program is available. One of the sessions will discuss South Carolina’s McLeod Plantation, shown here. The conference is sponsored by the Slave Dwelling Project, the MTSU Center for Historic Preservation, and the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area.

Visit the Heritage Center This Summer

If you’re looking for someplace to beat the heat while you’re out and about in downtown Murfreesboro this summer, be sure to stop by the Heritage Center of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County. Located at 225 West College Street, the Heritage Center houses exhibits about the history of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County. A new exhibit incorporating a recently donated butter churn (pictured) is in progress, so look for it in the coming months. Also, be sure to check out our brochure rack to pick up local driving and walking tours, as well as literature about nearby historic sites.

New Exhibits at the Historic Rhea County Courthouse

As part of the renovations to the historic Rhea County Courthouse, the Center for Historic Preservation recently unveiled a new exhibit on the history of the county, including the Strawberry Festival, Native communities, industrial transformations, and the Scopes Trial. This twelve-panel exhibit will be on display throughout the main floors of the courthouse. This project grew out of a Heritage Development Plan created by graduate students in Dr. Van West’s historic preservation class in the spring of 2017 at the request of the Rhea County Historical Society. In addition to this new exhibit and physical renovations to help preserve the building, the Courthouse’s existing museum on the Scopes Trial has been updated with new exhibits designed by Advent.

Teaching with Primary Sources – MTSU Kicks Off the Summer

Teaching with Primary Sources–MTSU kicks off its busy summer professional development schedule with the second annual “Teaching History Today: Content and Strategies for U.S. and World History” mini-conference on June 4th at the McWherter Learning Resource Center on the MTSU campus. The MTSU History Department is collaborating with TPS-MTSU to offer four content sessions by MTSU History Department faculty: Dr. Mary Evins, Dr. Yuan-ling Chao, Dr. Sean Foley, and Dr. Susan Myers-Shirk. The day will also feature strategy and resource sessions by Dr. Andrew Polk (MTSU History Department), Sarah Calise and Donna Baker (Albert Gore Research Center), and our TPS-MTSU staff. The MTSU Center for Educational Media will be recording the day’s sessions for inclusion in their online programming.

The inaugural “Teaching History Today” professional development mini-conference in 2017 reached teachers from across middle Tennessee and included lecturers such as MTSU’s Dr. Amy Sayward, shown here. This year’s “Teaching History Today” will build on last year’s event and bring in new lecturers and partners.

Check out the summer workshop schedule for more opportunities to learn with TPS!

Spring 2018 Common Bond

Check out the latest news from the Center for Historic Preservation in our spring newsletter, out now! Catch up with former students, learn about upcoming and ongoing projects, and stay connected to all of our special programming by signing up for our e-mail list to receive Common Bond right to your inbox.

Melrose High School Heritage Room

A member of the Orange Mound community in Memphis poses with a new history exhibit at Melrose High School. Center for Historic Preservation Fieldwork Coordinator Savannah Grandey and Dr. Katie O’Bryan, a former graduate research assistant at the Center, recently traveled to Memphis to install the exhibit at the school. Orange Mound is a Preserve America neighborhood with a rich education, religious, architectural, sports, and music history. Thank you to the Orange Mound community for sharing your memories and places with us.

Walter Brewer Bemis Community Center Dedication

The Center for Historic Preservation would like to congratulate the Walter Brewer Bemis Community Center (WBBCC) on the dedication of its building. The new community center is housed in the historic West Bemis Rosenwald School outside of Jackson, Tennessee, in a former textile mill community. The CHP’s research professor, Dr. Stacey Graham, and director, Dr. Carroll Van West, along with undergraduate student Tara Salvati, worked with the community center’s leadership as part of our Professional Services Partnership Program to develop exhibits for the community center’s heritage room. The dedication ceremony on April 14th included remarks by Dr. Graham as well as Mayor Jerry Gist and County Mayor Jimmy Harris, in addition to WBBCC board members and namesake Pastor Walter Brewer of West Bemis Missionary Baptist Church. The community center will provide a space for youth activities, tutoring, meetings, and special events.

Rock of Ages Wins Award of Excellence

At its recent annual conference, the Tennessee Association of Museums conferred an Award of Excellence on “Rock of Ages: East Tennessee’s Marble Industry,” a temporary exhibition at the Museum of East Tennessee History that was curated by Center for Historic Preservation digital humanities research fellow Dr. Susan Knowles.  You can read more about Dr. Knowles’s marble research in posts she has written for our Southern Rambles blog about the marble industry and its artisans.



Soulsville USA Brochure

The Soulsville USA driving/walking tour brochure is now available! Download it or contact us to get a copy. One of Memphis’s oldest neighborhoods, Soulsville USA is immersed in the nation’s civil rights, music, and religious history. The neighborhood was home to many​ famous individuals and institutions, including Ida B. Wells, Lucie Campbell, Dr. Christopher Roulhac (whose home is shown here), LeMoyne-Owen College, and Mason Temple.

Memphis Heritage Trail Driving Tour

Be sure to get a copy of the Memphis Heritage Trail driving tour brochure! This new publication recognizes the significant contributions of African Americans who helped shape the rich business, cultural, and musical heritage of the city of Memphis. The tour features four historic loops–Civil Rights, Business-Entertainment, Commerce, and Residential–as well as other sites of interest. The driving tour brochure was completed by the Center in partnership with the Memphis Heritage Trail and the City of Memphis, including the Division of Housing and Community Development. Dr. Carroll Van West and Savannah Grandey led the Center’s project team, which also included graduate research assistants Kelli Gibson and Victoria Hensley.