Smithsonian honors ECCC faculty member

By By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
April 11, 2002
DECATUR The Smithsonian Institute has taken ideas from East Central Community College to go along with one of its traveling exhibits.
An instructional kit developed by ECCC English instructor, Melinda Smith of Union, will be sent to about 40 exhibition sites in Tennessee, Louisiana, Missouri, Kansas and North Dakota, as part of a traveling World War II exhibit. Dates are scheduled through next year.
ECCC was the first site in Mississippi to host the exhibit, "Produce for Victory: Posters on the American Home Front, 1941-45."
The exhibit is made up of a number of posters used in support of the war effort in the United States during World War II. Area veterans also provided memorabilia for the display.
Smith wrote the instructional kit for the local showing of the exhibit. The kit will be adopted for use by state councils, school systems and others throughout the United States.
Smith was notified of the Smithsonian's intentions recently through an e-mail she received from Carol Harsh, project director of the Smithsonian Institute.
In the e-mail Harsh said: "Your instruction kit is of particular interest because, as in Decatur, there are small towns across the country that are developing programs and educational events to coincide with the Smithsonian exhibition in their communities. Your work will be of great assistance for teachers in these towns as they prepare to teach about the World War II home front. Thanks again for your hard work on behalf of Produce for Victory."
Smith said she wrote two versions of the kit, one for classrooms and one for civic and church groups, that included more than 40 activities that could be done before and after viewing the exhibit.
One of the activities was for students to refer to chapter four of the book, "My Dog Skip," by the late Mississippi author, Willie Morris. The chapter could be used for discussion about the war years.
Smith graduated from ECCC in 1973 and earned her bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi. She taught high school English in Mississippi and Virginia and taught at Florida Community College in Jacksonville and at the University of North Florida.
The National Museum of American History, The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and the Mississippi Humanities Council organized the exhibit Sept. 28-Nov. 1 at ECCC.
Tommy Thrash, social science instructor and chairman of the ECCC Division of Social Science, Education and Business, served as event coordinator.

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