Archives at Tennessee History Day

written by Jim Havron, Albert Gore Research Center Archivist
 

Many folk at MTSU are familiar with Tennessee History Day as we host one of the division competitions. A lot of our people also help judge the state level competition. As an archivist I had the pleasure of judging a special award for best use of archival materials. Sound exciting? Well, it was just as exciting as you would expect. That probably means that if you get into that sort of thing you would have found it fun, and if you don’t, you wouldn’t have.

What made it really fun was the discoveries that the winners of this award (one senior division, one junior,) made when they visited archives. They each expected to work hard digging through old documents, and they were not disappointed. What neither expected was the personal connections that they were able to make with the based through the documents and interaction with the archivists. Each found some treasure, a rare award given to someone long ago or their grandfather’s name and property among reports of land to be claimed by the creation of a new lake.

History in general is not something that excites everyone, but many people find it fascinating when it touches in some way on their own lives; when it gets personal. These young people felt that they had found something valuable. It is always fun being an archivist when you see someone find treasure in the collections that are in your charge.

Interested in the state winners of the competition? Here you are:  http://tnsos.org/Press/story.php?item=511

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