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College of Education


The Chester C. Travelstead Room

Viewing The Travelstead Room: A Space to Honor, A Place to Engage documentary video

We are pleased to present The Travelstead Room: A Space to Honor, A Place to Engage, first premiered by the Museum of Education on April 7, 2017. As mentioned in the introduction to the video at its premiere, “Two points must be made about the Museum’s video:  This is not a Travelstead biopic. The life of Chester C. Travelstead is certainly important; however, you will never read or hear his birth year. This is not a biography. Second, this documentary was not conceived for the general public, as you will notice.  Students and faculty who would be checking their texts six times during the next 28 minutes are not our intended audience.  We are trying to connect with those teachers and students who notice that others are checking their texts 12 times an hour AND who are thinking of ways to develop spaces that truly engage and elicit one’s attention.  [A multimedia link to The Travelstead Room documentary appears on this website, and] the video will be taken to education conferences to initiate conversations with faculty, teachers, and students about memoralization and the importance of designated spaces for true discourse.”

The Museum of Education premiered the documentary as part of the 2017 Indie Grits Festival with many of the interviewees in attendance and with John P. Boyd, Chair of the Board of Directors, representing The Nickelodeon Theatre.

The Travelstead Room is conceived as a site of conscience and, as defined by Sebastian Brett and others, “draws upon the power of memorialization by conceiving space as a forum for citizen engagement. Public memorials don’t seek to just honor; they generate conversations to consider lessons from the past and for the present and future.”

The Travelstead Room was dedicated in 2006 as a way to honor South Carolina educators and to bring the Travelstead story to a larger public sphere.  The Museum wanted to do more, however, than merely mount a few photographs or place a nameplate over the door. That would only trivialize what was a remarkable and an unfortunate event in the history of University of South Carolina. More importantly, it would have been a lost opportunity to engage our students, to address issues with our faculty, and to attempt to reconcile some problems from the past.

 

We “must do more than teach young people what happened; they must also open new spaces for dialogue about how what happened related to young people’s experiences today. These spaces must help young people develop critical thinking skills, the courage to question, and models of nonviolent engagement—all foundations of a culture of human rights.” Memorialization and Democracy: State Policy and Civic Action by Sebastian Brett, Louis Bickford, Liz Sevcenko, and Marcella Rios. New York: The International Center for Transitional Justice, 2008.

 “What is important is to build a space for dialogue. . . . to face the challenge in using memory to build bridges between people but also to raise issues of social justice. When we construct sites we should also remember that this is when the conversation really begins.” Yasmin Sooka from the Foreword, Memory to Action: A Toolkit for Memorialization in Post-Conflict Societies by Ereshnee Naidu with contributions from Bix Gabriel and Mofidul Hoque. New York: International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, 2011/2012.