“Tales from the Crypt” Program Wins Award for Excellence in Use of Historical Records in Grades K-12

The Mississippi School for Math and Science students have one more thing to be proud of this year. The annual history program “Tales from the Crypt” received the Award for Excellence in Use of Historical Records in Grades K-12 through the Mississippi Historical Records Advisory Board (MHRAB).

The Award for Excellence in Use of Historical Records in Grades K-12 recognizes an understanding of the educational value of primary sources and the extent to which primary sources have been integrated into a classroom, school district curriculum, or an academic course or program of study; impact of the use of primary sources on student academic performance and community involvement; use of innovative and creative techniques for using primary sources in the classroom; and evidence of a collaborative effort with an archival program.

Chuck Yarborough with father Lawrence Yarborough Sr. accepting the award from the Mississippi Historical Records and Advisory Board April 27, 2009

Chuck Yarborough with father Lawrence Yarborough Sr. accepting the award from the Mississippi Historical Records and Advisory Board April 27, 2009

Chuck Yarborough, instructor for the “Tales from the Crypt” program, was honored by the acknowledgment for both the program and for the hard work of his students. Yarborough said, “It’s incredible to be honored by the primary agency for preserving the historical records of our state and its communities.”

The “Tales from the Crypt” course assigns juniors the task of researching individuals buried in the Columbus graveyard, Friendship Cemetery. With only a list of names, the students take full advantage of the primary and secondary sources available at The Local History Room at the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library as well as the Lowndes County Court House and any online databases. The students examine records such as marriage records, local court records (probate, general docket, and circuit), census records, newspapers, city minute books, family histories, city directories, and many more. After conducting four months of research, the students compile their findings into roughly a 10-20 page paper on the genealogy and life of Columbus citizens from long-ago. Then, twelve students are chosen to create a vignette on their researched individual. They perform the vignettes in Friendship Cemetery for multiple tours held during the annual Columbus Pilgrimage in March and April with roughly 2,000 people attending an average of five performances per year. The “Tales from the Crypt” program was started in 1991 by Carl Butler.

The program was nominated for the MHRAB award by Archivist Mona K. Vance with the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library. Vance said, “‘Tales from the Crypt’ exemplifies how original documents can be utilized in a classroom where students learn an appreciation of how primary sources reverberate through time.”

This is the first year that MHRAB has offered an awards program in order to recognize exemplary achievements and to encourage efforts to identify, preserve, provide access to, and utilize Mississippi’s historical records. Other awards include recognition for Excellence in Documenting Mississippi’s History, Excellence in Use of Historical Records in Higher Education, and Excellence in Archival Program Development. To find out more about MHRAB go to http://mdah.state.ms.us/admin/shrab/shrab.php.

Award ceremonies took place on April 23 during the Society of Mississippi Archivists (SMA) annual conference held this year at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Coast Campus in Long Beach. For more on SMA visit www.msarchivists.org.

Published in: on April 29, 2009 at 9:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

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