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UNCW Public History Students’ Project Receives Honorable Mention from National Organization

Monday, March 02, 2015

UNCW Department of Public History students Beth Bullock, Jayd Buteaux and Leslie Randle-Morton recently earned an honorable mention in the annual Student Project Award competition sponsored by the National Council on Public History (NCPH).

The students, who will accept their award in April at an NCPH banquet in Nashville, Tenn., were recognized for “Push and Pull: Eastern European and Russian Migration to the Cape Fear Region.” Their exhibit, originally displayed in UNCW’s Randall Library, explored the history of migration from Eastern Europe and Russia from the early 20th century to the present. “Push and Pull” also was exhibited at the Pender County Library from October 2014 to January 2015.

The exhibit represents a year-long collaboration between the UNCW Public History Program, the Pender County Library, and the Russian and Eastern European descent and migrant communities of the Cape Fear Region, said associate professor Tammy S. Gordon, director of the public history program. The project included a material culture survey, a cemetery research project, an oral history collection, a public research symposium and a traveling exhibit.

“The project was the result of a great deal of commitment from the Eastern European and Russian descent and migrant communities, who gave feedback to the students throughout all phases, offered their stories through oral histories, and loaned their artifacts so the students could learn collections processing, care and display,” Gordon said. “They were active mentors in the students’ training.”

Gordon and the graduate students enrolled in her Collections of Theory and Practice and Historical Exhibition seminars during the fall 2013 and fall 2014 semesters coordinated the project. Roza Starbodubtseva, a lecturer in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, and Sue McCraffray, a professor in the Department of History, also served as project advisors.

“Mike Taylor, director of the Pender County Library, was equally helpful in guiding students to the right sources. Contributions from our community partners were a key part of the project’s success,” Gordon added.