MTSU students to apply shoe leather to documenting Nashville history Dec. 6

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For the second straight year, MTSU's "Doing Digital History" class will take to the streets of Nashville to document Music City's rich heritage.

Assistant Professor Molly Taylor-Poleskey and her students will embark at 3:40 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6, on a walking tour of the Edgefield neighborhood of East Nashville. The trek will start at the east branch of the Nashville Public Library, 206 Gallatin Ave.

Taylor-Poleskey said she wants her students to understand how residential neighborhoods adapt to an influx of new residents and wealth and to comprehend the effects of gentrification.


"There's a social justice component in telling the stories of the communities that are being displaced by rising rents and rising housing prices," Taylor-Poleskey said. "By making history more visible, I think we're helping to recognize long-time residents or residents who are no longer there whose stories have been overlooked."

Preparation for the walking tour included searches of the Metropolitan Government Archives of Nashville-Davidson County and the Nashville Room at the Nashville Public Library for photos, maps and tract development records. They found records of previous owners of different properties at the Metropolitan Planning Commission.


"In the first third of the class we do a lot of urban history background so that students can recognize patterns of change when we go into the neighborhood," Taylor-Poleskey said.

Each student was charged with producing four stories for the tour and choosing one tour stop at which to deliver an oral presentation. The goal, said Taylor-Poleskey, is to "peel back the layers of history to reveal what you don't necessarily see."

A Belmont University class led by adjunct history professor Mary Ellen Pethel is designing a walking tour of Music Row to embark at 2 p.m. Dec. 6 from Owen Bradley Park at One Music Square East near the Musica Statue.

Pethel is the creator of, a web-based tour available for free on mobile and desktop devices, which will fully launch in September 2019. It is sponsored by the Metro Historical Commission in partnership with the MTSU Digital History Program.

The MTSU digital history students are:

  • John Phillip Aguilar, a junior history major from Antioch, Tennessee;
  • Katherine Clemens, a senior history major from Waynesboro, Tennessee;
  • Wes Dunbar, a junior history major from Pleasant Shade, Tennessee;
  • Austin Hall, a junior interactive media major from Hendersonville, Tennessee; Olivia Pugh, a senior history major from Chattanooga, Tennessee;
  • Michael Suhr, a senior recording industry major from Warner Robins, Georgia.

The public is invited to join both walking tours. Check or follow @NashvilleMHCF on Facebook or Instagram for additional information. Contact Taylor-Poleskey at 615-898-2423 or

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Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro news
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