Student Projects and Experiences
Students of the Master of Heritage Preservation Program at GSU are actively involved in Atlanta and the surrounding areas. Projects vary from class to class, and each student gains valuable hands-on experience that translates into career fields in Public History and Historic Preservation.
Below are examples of student projects in the MHP program:
Home Movies: Providing a Lens into the Past
“During the Spring semester of 2015, I partnered with the University of Georgia’s Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection for the digitization of The Andrew Avery Collection, which provides important historical footage of South Georgia from the 1930s to the 1950s. The concentration in Public History for my Master’s capstone project, inspired by the advice of Media Archivist Margie Compton, led me to apply the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History’s Oral History Metadata Synchronizer (OHMS) to a niche of Georgia history, the prolific home movies by Andrew Avery. In these films Avery extensively documented life in Bainbridge, Georgia and the surrounding area in this time period. My efforts are symbiotic with the both UGA’s and GSU’s continuous improvements to making navigation of sometimes obscure content more intuitive and less cumbersome in order to unlock the vast content contained in moving images such as Avery’s. Using the OHMS program, I was able sync shot lists to the video, making a previously inaccessible collection of home movies both available and searchable through the Brown Media Archive’s website. I also created a website and blog that revolve around the Avery collection and the Brown Media Archives in which to provide an introductory look into film archives and how to best utilize the resources they offer, as well as to give insight into the basics of film preservation. This project allowed me to address a major issue within the MHP program and public history as a whole: providing the public easy access to information and content within archives. It also provided me with experience in dealing with various types of archival mediums (analog film, digital media, and oral history software) that I have previously never engaged with, thus enhancing my knowledge base for use at Georgia State University and institutions in the future.” View Website
In the Spring semester of 2015, the Preservation Planning class authored Design Guidelines for the City of Covington. The class worked with city planner, Scott Gaither, to tailor specific guidelines and suggestions for maintaining the city’s historic integrity.
“I co-authored sections on architectural history, residential rehabilitation, contributed to the edit team and served as class liaison with the City of Covington’s City Planner. Our class visited Covington, spoke with members of the city’s Historic Preservation Commission, and City Planner to successfully author Design Guidelines for the Historic Districts of Covington. The City has adopted the document that my classmates and I submitted, and is actively directing owners of historic structures within the historic district to the the Design Guidelines.”
Students of the Fall 2014 Conservation of Historic Building Materials class authored a Historic Structure Report for the Mable House.
“I was part of a team working on writing a conditions assessment and historic structures report for the Mable House, located in Cobb County, Georgia. Together with my classmates I was responsible for assessing and outlining the documentary, graphic, and physical information about the property’s history and existing condition. The report addresses the management and goals for the re-use of the property. Additionally, the report provides information for current maintenance procedures and will serve as an important guide for all future changes made to the Mable House property during any project-repair or rehabilitation. The findings of our research and investigation, as well as the processes of physical work, will serve as a vital resource for future researchers of the Mable House property and the Mable family.”
“Women: Don’t Agonize, Organize!”
“As the Our Mother’s Fund graduate research assistant in Georgia State’s Special Collections Library, I created an exhibit every year which utilized the materials in the Archives for Research on Women and Gender. For my public history certificate, I was able to have my annual exhibit serve as my capstone project under Kate Wilson’s guidance. The result was the exhibit, “Women: Don’t Agonize, Organize!” that was on display in Georgia State’s Special Collections for over a year and an online version of the exhibit for the library’s website. The goal for the exhibit was to highlight the wealth of resources available in the collections as well as to connect with our constituents through a spring event for the exhibit’s opening. As my capstone project, I was able to get feedback from the department and my peers which enabled me to craft a stronger narrative for the exhibit and ensure the exhibit spoke to our constituents. Moving forward, the experience has continued to influence my thought in how my projects can serve my institutions constituents best.”Visit online version of the exhibit
“Victory At All Costs: World War II and the Homefront”
“For my capstone project, I created a docent manual with an educational guide and field trip to partner with the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society’s exhibit Victory At All Costs: World War II and the Homefront (this exhibit is no longer on display). The manual included a script for guided field trips, which allowed for interaction between the docent and the group by utilizing hands on activities like rationing and listening to the radio. There was also a self-guided educational packet that could be used for families or groups visiting the McRitchie-Hollis Museum. As part of the docent manual, supplementary essays were included to go into more depth on more difficult topics that were presented during the tour. While I created this project, I was able to explore the theories and methods taught while completing my public history degree. It helped me gain a better understanding of creating a real world educational guide. Ultimately, this project opened up opportunities in the Museum field for me after graduation as I was able to showcase an actual project during interviews.”
When choosing a graduate school, I wanted to work with professors who had both practical knowledge and deep connections in the museum community. That’s why I chose Georgia State University. Within the department, I am focusing on Public Memory. Public Memory deconstructs and examines what we choose to remember and how we choose to remember it. That information impacts how we rephrase or reconsider questions of collective remembrance. My classes have ranged from the study of scholarly theories and methodologies to the research and design of a museum exhibit. I have been introduced to individuals working throughout the South in the museum field. My Issues and Interpretations in Public History class with Dr. Kate Wilson exposed me to the process of building an interpretive plan for a small house museum. I now understand how a museum defines its audience, builds concepts to engage community, and plans long-term goals. Under Dr. Wilson’s direction, we moved out of the classroom and were hands-on working with an existing museum and interacting with the community it serves. That course, along with the others, has given me the confidence to fully engage with the museum community and understand how my degree can affect change.