MISSOURI HUMANITIES COUNCIL ANNOUNCES 2005 GOVERNOR’S HUMANITIES AWARDS FOR PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT
October 20, 2005 (PRLEAP.COM) Education NewsThe 2005 Governor’s Humanities Public Involvement Award, conferred by the Missouri Humanities Council, recognizes persons who have been exemplary in developing public interest in the activities of a museum, historic site or historical society, or who have generated exceptional public interest in history or literature in some other way. Recipients are Russ and Rosemary Burcham, Kennett, and Joellen Gamp McDonald, Richmond Heights
Russ and Rosemary Burcham have captured life in their Dunklin County community through “Time for Talk,” a locally originated public affairs program on Time Warner Cable. Unique in the U.S. for its daily frequency, for its continuous 30 year existence, and for its clear focus on community betterment.
Russ shoots and edits the footage and Rosemary, the interviewer and commentator, uses the microphone and her friendly conversational style to bring to life the subject of a particular broadcast. Most of their episodes feature ordinary folks, places, and events in Dunklin County. A few of their programs come from trips taken overseas, bringing bits of the world back to the Bootheel. The Burchams (Rosemary, 79, and Russ, 80) were born and raised in the Bootheel of Missouri.
Since its beginning in 1975, “Time for Talk” has documented the area’s change from swampland to fertile farmland, including the interlude of the Timber Boom Town. Through many interviews with old-timers and "in-the-field" reporting, everyday life in the Bootheel area has been captured for all time.
Thousands of program hours of magnetic video tape is being converted to digital format, and a future home in the county library, in order for the shows to remain accessible to scholars and the public, and for anyone who wants to see and hear “what great-great granddad had to say back in 2005.” These programs are a priceless record of local legend and lore.
Joellen Gamp McDonald has been selected to receive a 2005 Governor’s Humanities Public Involvement Award, conferred by the Missouri Humanities Council. This award recognizes a person who has been exemplary in developing public interest in the activities of a museum, historic site or historical society, or who has generated exceptional public interest in history or literature in some other way.
As vice president and curator of the Richmond Heights Historical Society, McDonald has almost single-handedly revived an organization devoted to the collection and documentation of the Richmond Heights community. Her recent efforts focused on Hadley Township Neighborhood, one of the oldest African American communities in St. Louis County, created in 1907 when Evens-Howard brickworks developed subsidized housing for its predominately black workers.
McDonald prodded the community conscience in the face of continued commercial zoning and investment, galvanizing the neighbors into a cogent voice. Through a letter-writing campaign, she helped bring awareness of the community’s significance to developers.
She partnered with 8th grade students from St. Luke’s Catholic School to create An Oral History Project: The People from the Hill which documented hundreds of photos and historical memorabilia. McDonald has brought life to local history through exhibits and Society-sponsored lectures, and represented the local community in its planning with the MO Department of Transportation.
Since 1971, the Missouri Humanities Council has provided thousands of programs to help Missourians enjoy a rich cultural life and develop community citizenship. Our mission is to enable families and communities to broaden their appreciation of history, literature, and the ideas that shape our democracy. Our programs include: READ from the START, family reading initiative; Chautauqua, community celebration of history: Charettes, consulting for local museums & cultural institutions; Museum on Main Street rural initiative of the Smithsonian Institution; as well as Grants and Initiatives to fund locally generated programs.
To learn more about the Governor’s Humanities Awards, this year’s honorees, or to nominate someone for the 2006 Public Involvement, Community Heritage, Excellence in Secondary Education, or Book Awards, please visit our website, http://www.mohumanities.org.
MHC is a tax-exempt, non-profit organization affiliated with the National Endowment for the Humanities, a Federal agency.