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College of Education

New research center lands grant to spread stories of Reconstruction in SC

The Center for Innovation in Higher Education recently was awarded the National Endowment for Humanities award for a project titled Free and Equal: The Promise of Reconstruction in America. The center, in partnership with local organizations in Beaufort County and a team of national experts and historians, are working together on the project. 

Interim center director Rose Ylimaki is the primary project investigator and will work with the project team on implementation. The Beaufort County partners include the Historic Penn Center Inc., The Town of Port Royal, The City of Beaufort, Historic Brick Church, The Mitcheville Project, Grand Army Hall of the Republic, the National Park Service and others.

The grant provides funding for phase one of a project which includes four formats: a mobile app with immersive audio storytelling; an exhibition type website; a brochure and guide map; and, an interactive kiosk. Free and Equal will offer visitors a compelling narrative of the country’s key historical Reconstruction themes, in essence telling the story of the “Second Founding” of the nation.

Future plans in phase two will feature a Reconstruction Interpretative Center as well as traveling exhibits to extend the initial public history project.

This project allows the center to expand the learning of  Reconstruction history by focusing on summer institutes and courses for K-12 educators, doctoral students, visiting scholars at the Penn Center, and an annual conference on democracy, education, the renewing of the second founding and the Port Royal Experiment. 

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