As usual, the academic year caught up with me and threw me for a whirl. After a wild hurricane-riddled fall semester (one month away from campus!), and intense experiential learning semester in spring, and a well-earned holiday to Iceland, I am back again and ready to do this (at least until August).
The fall semester was bizarre in many ways. The semester started out fine, with my usual Pre-Modern World survey, Intro to Public History, and a capstone for the MA in Liberal Studies. I headed off to DacNet and England the first week of September, and on the way home heard a hurricane was brewing. Hurricane Florence hit, and school was closed for 3 weeks. We came back the first week of October to try to recover some semblance of a normal semester. It went as well as it could, and everyone adapted, but it was far from a normal semester.
My Intro to Public History class went well, and I tried out a new project idea from Dr. Jamie Goodall which worked without a hitch. I was happy to have a couple of graduate students in that class. The class website included a space for blogs, which I will share over the coming weeks.
My MALS capstone student, Mandy Hamilton, worked on a very cool digital reconstruction project, which you can find here: https://amanda9917.wordpress.com. A very incredible piece of news, totally surreal for me, Mandy will attend MTSU in the Fall semester to pursue her Ph.D. in Public History with my dissertation advisor!
The Spring semester was probably the best I’ve had yet as a professor.
I developed a new course on Great Debates in Public History and Cultural Heritage. This course was developed completely around Reacting to the Past pedagogy, in class debates, group presentations, and other in class activities. As part of this module in the course, I invited Chief Harold Hatcher of the Waccamaw people to visit the class and talk about his experiences as a Native American in our community. The “flipped classroom” nature of this course was challenging for me as an instructor, but many students seem to do more research and push themselves to see all sides of our historical debate topics in this class.
The most time consuming and impactful work I did in Spring 2019 was in my HIST392: Museums and Communities course. HIST392 serves to introduce students to the museum world, museum theory and history, as well as museum work through a hands-on community project. For Spring 2019, I partnered with Dr. Carolyn Dillian’s ANTH432: Cultural Resource Management class, as a natural complement to our project.
Our project was to create an exhibit for people with disabilities and sensory differences through 3D scanning and printing of artifacts in the Horry County Museum collection. The students created the exhibit from the ground up in conjunction with HCM, local community organizations and partners, and other stakeholders. Students were at the The South Carolina Federation of Museums annual conference in March to present their work, and also to attend the conference and meet museum professionals from the state and region. Additionally, a panel on our work has been accepted for the SouthEastern Museums Conference in Charleston in October, 2019.
Dr. Dillian and I applied for an received 2 grants for this project, a South Carolina Humanities MiniGrant of $2,000 and South Eastern Archaeology Conference $2,000. We received both grants to complete this project.
The exhibit, titled Printing the Past: SC in 3D opened April 30, 2019 at the Horry County Museum. The course website and digital exhibit is online available at: www.printingthepastscin3d.com. More on this in the coming months, I am sure.
Somehow this seems to be turning into a rehashing of my year-end eval for the school… I guess you can just check my updated CV if you really want the details on everything else I’ve been up to. There were publications, conference presentations, a book proposal, and so much more.
I’ll give more updates on all of this and that over this summer, I hope.
In the meantime, brace yourself for student blogs from the Fall semester, coming soon!