MTSU’s Center for Historic Preservation wins $ 43,000 grant for WWII research on the Tennessee front



Kira Duke, education specialist at the Center for Historic Preservation at Middle Tennessee State University, holds a photo from the Library of Congress’s digital collection of Tennessee Women working on a WWII “Vengeance” dive bomber , at the Heritage Center in Murfreesboro and in Rutherford County in Murfreesboro, Tenn. , October 13, 2021. The MTSU center recently won a $ 43,000 grant from the Library of Congress for a research project focusing on the impact of WWII on Tennesseans. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

It’s no surprise that social studies is the favorite subject of MTSUCenter for Historical Preservation staff member Kira Duke.

“I liked stories from the past, especially from the 1950s and 1960s, and I often read my textbook because I found the subject matter intriguing,” said Duke, education specialist for the Teaching with Primary Sources program. of the Center. “(Growing up) I began to see history as vital to being able to understand the region I lived in and the issues our communities face today.

Duke and his colleagues at the center continually work on research projects to better understand this rich history, the most recent focusing on World War II and its impact on the Tennesseans. The project won a $ 43,000 grant from the Library of Congress which runs from October through next year.

“Our goal (using this grant) is to create a comprehensive, primary source-focused curriculum on the impact of WWII on the Tennessee Homefront that can be used in grade five undergraduate classes, from high school and the US History Survey, ”she said.

Duke’s passion for the past followed her from her hometown in Chestnut Mount, Tennessee, through her graduate degree in history at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville to her work at the center, which it started in 2010.

“My work, funded by the Library of Congress, educates K-12 teachers on best practices for using primary sources in the classroom, focusing on accessing sources in the Library of Canada’s digital collections. Congress, ”said Duke.

Local educators and administrators can access the wide range of professional development programs and educational materials offered by the centre’s program on its website

The overall work of the center plays an important role in helping communities preserve and share their stories with a wider audience.

“Our communities have such a rich history and it’s important that we help tell those stories,” said Duke, explaining that the center depended on external financial support for much of its work.

“These (funds) provide opportunities to work on really interesting projects and provide our graduate assistants with incredible opportunities. Each of these projects is built on a partnership, which can then present future opportunities for the center.

Carroll Van West, director of the center, said staff are always looking for ways to develop resources that will help community educators better understand primary sources for key periods in state and government history. country.

“The recent creation of the Manhattan Project National Historic Site at Oak Ridge was another reason to further highlight Tennessee’s local and national histories during World War II,” West said.

Additionally, the center will use this research to collaborate with the National Park Service on a WWII waterfront book that will be sold in parks across the country.

Showing how MTSU works with public agencies and nonprofits is a key part of the centre’s mission, West said.

“These projects not only improve education and economic opportunities in Tennessee, they allow us to provide meaningful and practical work experiences to MTSU students who are heavily involved in all of these projects.”

To follow the work and educational opportunities of the Center for Historic Preservations, visit, the centre’s Facebook page, the centre’s Instagram, and the southern Rambles centre’s blog.


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