In Class

November 24, 2014 at 9:57 am

Anthropology Students Work with Historical Society on College Green Walking Guide

A team of undergraduate Anthropology students at Ohio University collaborated with the Athens County Historical Society and Museum this semester to develop an educational resource that benefits the local community, while showcasing their unique anthropological approach.

Anthropology students at Athens County Historical Society

Anthropology students at Athens County Historical Society

The results of their collaboration are being showcased through a Display Event in Baker Center’s third Floor Atrium on Monday, Nov. 24, and Tuesday, Nov. 25.

The event showcases the success of the service learning project and the resources of the Athens County Historical Society and Museum.

The three students—Mark Clemente, Nicole Dailey and Ellie Koewler—began work with Jessica Cyders, Curator of the Athens County Historical Society and Museum, early in the semester as a part of a “service learning” project for their course, ANTH 3400: Applied Anthropology. The course is taught by Dr. Haley Duschinski.

Self-Guided Walking Tour of Buildings on College Green

Over the semester, the students developed a self-guided walking tour booklet of past and present buildings on Ohio University’s College Green. Their final product—a booklet providing background and context on the building’s unique histories—is based loosely on an out-dated resource already existing at the museum.

By modernizing the content and layout, applied anthropology students were able to meet the wishes of all stakeholders.

The booklet is relevant to current students and visiting alumni. It also showcases the opportunities and resources for research projects and collaboration at the Athens County Historical Society and Museum.

To create the educational booklet, the students used the museum archives to research 12 buildings on College Green. The information was then compiled featuring historical images from both the Historical Society and Alden Library Archive collections.

For the Baker Center display, the students will set up large historical and appealing images in a high-traffic area. Through this approach, they hope to draw attention to the booklet resource and information will be provided about the Museum.

Collaborating with Athens County Historical Society and Museum

Applied Anthropology is an anthropological approach situated within and between cultural, archaeology and biological realms of traditional academic anthropology. With their anthropological training, applied anthropologists may consult on projects in advocacy, social work, law, business, health, medicine, and the military, providing cultural context and insight.

The service learning assignment allowed students to use their anthropological training to meet a need of a local agency by considering a current social problem, formulating anthropological interventions and solutions, thinking critically about methods, and ultimately creating a final product or report and presentation.

The final outcome had to be both sustainable and participatory, the two hallmarks of a holistic and deliberate applied anthropology approach.

For this particular project, the group identified a social need within the Athens County Historical Society and Museum outreach. Through consultation with the museum curator, the three students designed a project that would help the museum by developing educational resources to engage the Ohio University community.

An anthropology degree allows students to use their skills to keep the needs of a host community or agency at the forefront of their work. By proceeding ethically and with holistic consideration, anthropology can provide recommendations and products that are successful long-term.

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