Over the summer I had the opportunity to intern at the MTSU Center for Historic Preservation. This opportunity was great because I was given the chance to be in charge of my own community-based preservation project under the guidance of Dr. Carroll West, the Tennessee state historian. My project consisted of creating a walking tour brochure for a historic residential district in Jackson, Tennessee. The completed brochure will be published and distributed at the Jackson visitors center and other businesses around the city. Among other things, this internship taught me how to conduct public history research and architectural surveys. My internship also allowed me to get first-hand experience working in a heritage center and a look into how these organizations operate.
Established in 1984, the Center for Historic Preservation was part of a comprehensive statewide education reform program in higher education where the state legislature created specialized research centers to involve and support leading academic programs. The Center’s designation acknowledged the national reputation of Middle Tennessee State University’s Historic Preservation program, established in 1973, and its affiliated Mid-South Humanities Project, a regional heritage education program funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities from 1978-1983. These two programs are the foundation blocks for the Center’s multi-layered contributions to the state, region, and nation for the past 25 years. (mtsu website)