Local History Celebrated in Libraries Collaborations this Spring

Posted on: May 22, 2019

The last few weeks of the Spring 2019 semester delivered several celebrations of projects led by JMU students relating to local Harrisonburg and Shenandoah Valley history. The Libraries assisted with key components to four of them.

On April 24, 2019, folks gathered in Rose Library to view the culmination of Dr. Philip Mills Herrington’s Historic Preservation course: a project titled “Preservation on the Periphery: The South Main Street Project.” The exhibition explored change and continuity along Harrisonburg’s South Main Street, and it showcased research conducted by both graduate and undergraduate students. This project also featured materials (i.e., photographs, maps) from JMU Special Collections, housed in Carrier Library.

On April 25, 2019, Brothers Craft Brewing hosted an event celebrating the launch of the Exploring Rockingham’s Past interactive website, with a focus on prohibition in Rockingham County. The project is an ongoing collaborative effort to digitize, describe, organize, and publish collections from the Rockingham Circuit Courthouse’s archival materials, dating all the way back to 1778. The addition of these prohibition-related documents to Exploring Rockingham’s Past by Kayla Heslin (JMU M.A. in History, 2020) and Craig Schaefer (JMU M.A. in History, 2019) will allow researchers worldwide to access these materials. JMU Libraries, JMU Department of History, and the Rockingham Circuit Court were main contributors to this project, with support from 4-VA and others.

On Friday, April 26, 2019, representatives from the Libraries were invited to attend the celebration and reveal of the new Furious Flower Archive prototype. The Furious Flower Poetry Center, housed at JMU, is the nation’s first academic center for Black poetry. This website is the exciting direct product of the Spring 2019 “Innovating the Archives” interdisciplinary X-Labs course. Libraries received a number of shout-outs and words of appreciation during the celebration and Head of Special Collections Kate Morris was able to eloquently promote the Libraries as a true and dedicated partner during the panel portion of the celebration. Many thanks to Grace Barth, Tiffany Cole, David Gaines, Kevin Hegg, Kate Morris, Sarah Roth-Mullet, and graduate assistant Mitchell Teal for the many contributions of time and expertise that went into making this course and website a true success story of innovation in the classroom on campus. Check out the finished prototype at: https://furiousflower.org.

On April 30, 2019, Dr. Meg Mulrooney’s public history course presented their WordPress sites documenting various JMU campus histories as a showcase in the Student Success Center. These histories include the 1970 Wilson Hall sit-in protest, untold aspects of JMU Athletics, and others. JMU Libraries’ Kirsten Mlodynia lent her expertise to help the student teams create their WordPress sites throughout the semester, and much of the campus history research was done in Special Collections. Dr. Mulrooney documented some of these presentations through her Twitter, visible here.

As the Libraries continue to support students, faculty, and their research, more celebrations like these will continue to take place.

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