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Common Bond
winter 2017
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Formers' Corner

Sara Beth Urban earned her M.A. in Public History at MTSU in 2013, after working for the CHP both as an undergraduate and graduate student. She currently works as the Middle Tennessee division manager for the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. Click here to view video.
Landscapes of Revolution public meeting in Midleton, County Cork, Ireland
A full crowd attends Damian Shiels's introductory talk on the Landscapes of Revolution project in Midleton, County Cork, Ireland.


The CHP’s partnership with Rubicon Heritage, an archaeology firm operating in Ireland and the United Kingdom, kicked into higher gear this past fall with the launching of the Landscapes of Revolution project. Established by Damian Shiels, Rubicon manager and specialist in conflict archaeology, this project seeks to identify sites and structures in the landscape dating from the time of Ireland’s War of Independence, 1919-1921. To assist Shiels with this effort, Michael Fletcher, CHP graduate research assistant and Ph.D. student in the Public History program, is currently spending several months in County Cork, Ireland, fulfilling the residency requirement of the program. Michael will be drawing on the community outreach experiences he gained while working at the CHP on the Rutherford County Cemetery Survey and other projects.
Much like the Civil War in Tennessee, the Irish War of Independence comprised hundreds of events that took place on an intensely local level and involved families and communities in the conflict. The Landscapes of Revolution project is the first organized attempt to combine in-depth research into pension records and the Bureau of Military History Witness Statements with a survey of existing buildings and structures associated with the conflict. Furthermore, Shiels and Fletcher have conducted the first two of several community meetings to involve residents in the survey. The hope is that family stories and artifacts can supplement the scholarly research and fill out a more comprehensive picture of how the War of Independence played out on a local scale.—Stacey Graham, research professor.
Anniversary event at Parker's Crossroads
Our final anniversary event was held at the Parker’s Crossroads Visitor Center. State Representative Steve McDaniel, second from left, serves on the TCWNHA Board of Advisors and welcomed guests to the commemoration.


Thanks to all of our friends and supporters who attended our anniversary events last fall. In partnership with the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, which co-sponsored the events, we gathered across the state for six celebrations in honor of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act, and the 20th anniversary of our very own Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area. We ate way too much cake, but we enjoyed reaching out and catching up with lots of different people!
Our hosts were all preservation partners who have worked closely with the Heritage Area since its designation by Congress in 1996: the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County, the Heritage Center of Murfreesboro and Rutherford CountyGlen Leven Farm, the Hiwassee River Heritage Center, the East Tennessee History Center, and the Parker’s Crossroads Visitor Center.
We look forward to working with old and new partners as the Heritage Area enters its third decade. Our staff and students will continue to engage with citizens across the state to tell the whole story of the Civil War and Reconstruction in Tennessee. If you would like to partner with us, please drop us an e-mail at or contact us via the Heritage Area’s “How We Can Help” page. —Antoinette van Zelm, assistant director.
Rock of Ages: East Tennessee's Marble Industry exhibition
As one of the major partners for the Rock of Ages exhibition at the East Tennessee History Center, the CHP becomes a rock star!


Rock of Ages: East Tennessee’s Marble Industry, an overview of the region’s famous building stone and its significance in American history, would not have happened without the leadership of the CHP.  At the exhibition opening on November 18, 2016, Cherel Henderson, director of the East Tennessee Historical Society, thanked Dr. Carroll Van West and the CHP for being great colleagues. Guest curator Dr. Susan W. Knowles, whose 2011 MTSU dissertation provided the exhibition story line, said the real story was of a community coming together to recognize and preserve a nearly forgotten aspect of its history.
The combined Knoxville Custom House, Post Office, and Federal Building (1874), which now houses the Museum of East Tennessee History, was the first federal building to use Tennessee marble as an exterior building stone. East Tennessee PBS produced video interviews for the exhibition, and the Tennessee Marble Company donated Tennessee pink marble stands for the exhibition panels throughout the gallery.  On one wall of the exhibition is a huge map of historical quarry locations and the marble veins running through East Tennessee. Originally created by Zada Law at MTSU’s Geospatial Lab for the CHP’s 2013-2014 research survey funded by the Tennessee Historical Commission, the final version of the map was produced by Peter J. Lemiszki of the Tennessee Division of Geology and Adam Alfrey, exhibition curator.
Knowles offered special praise for the staff of the Museum of East Tennessee History, the Calvin M. McClung Historical CollectionIjams Nature CenterCandoro Arts & Heritage, the University of Tennessee’s Department of Art and Frank H. McClung Museum, and the many, many local marble-connected individuals who contributed historical objects and assisted with research to make the exhibition happen. Opening the same night was the Knoxville Museum of Art’s marble-related permanent collection display and The Quarry Project-Tennessee, a film and audio projection by Kate Katomski and Judd Mulkerin. Rock of Ages continues through April 2017.—Susan Knowles, digital humanities research fellow.


February 17: Teaching with Primary Sources-MTSU Workshop“Defining Citizenship: Strategies for Teaching Civics with Primary Sources,” Heritage Center of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County.
February 23Teaching with Primary Sources-MTSU Workshop, “Strategies for Finding and Using Primary Sources in Elementary Grades,” Martin Professional Development Center, Nashville.
March 11: Teaching with Primary Sources-MTSU Workshop“Strategies for Using Text-Based Sources in the Elementary Classroom,” East Tennessee History Center, Knoxville.
TN Civil War TN Century Farms Library Congress ADP Heritage Center
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