Programming Marks Astronaut’s Return to Earth

On March 27, 2015, astronaut Scott Kelly began an unprecedented year-long mission aboard the International Space Station. In honor of Cdr. Kelly’s return to Earth, we’re airing a series of space programs over the next two days.

Here’s our mission plan:

Tonight at 8 p.m.: Space Men: American Experience reveals the Air Force program known as Project Excelsior that sought to launch pilots into space via high-altitude balloons. This early space-flight program led to important discoveries about human’s ability to withstand gravitational forces and many of the tests developed in Project Excelsior were used in the selection process for NASA’s famous Mercury 7 astronauts.

 

Wednesday, March 2 at 7 p.m.: Could you stand to spend a year away from Earth? Scott Kelly’s test of space endurance aboard the International Space Station is the subject of A Year in Space, a PBS/TIME film. Cdr. Kelly’s twin brother, Capt. Mark Kelly, has been the control part of NASA’s experiment to learn about the effects of prolonged time in a zero-gravity environment on humans ‒ necessary research for eventual voyages to Mars.

Wednesday, March 2 at 8p.m.: NOVA’s First Man on the Moon is a biography of Neil Armstrong, who in 1969 became the first human to step onto the moon.

Wednesday, March 2 at 9 p.m.: The BBC’s Cosmonauts: How Russia Won the Space Race chronicles the 1950s and ′60s Soviet space program and reveals previously classified details about the USSR’s achievements and failures during the Cold War space race. The footage of Earth from outer space is stunning.

NPT wins three 2016 Midsouth Emmy Awards

NPT emmy group 2016

NPT’s LaTonya Turner, Shawn Anfinson, Will Pedigo, Suzy Hence and Jessica Turk at the 2016 Midsouth Regional Emmy Awards.

Nashville Public Television received three awards at the 30th Annual Midsouth Regional Awards on February 27, 2016, at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville.

NPT Reports: Aging Matters: Aging in Place won in the Documentary/Topical category, with awards going to producer Will Pedigo and editor Matthew Emigh.

NPT Reports: Aging Matters: Caregiving won in the Public Affairs category, with producer LaTonya Turner and editor Suzy Hence receiving statuettes.

Tennessee Crossroads: Eyes on LaFollette won in the Magazine Segment category, with producer Will Pedigo and editor Matthew Emigh receiving awards.

NPT productions went into the awards with 6 nominations.

NPT Reports: Aging Matters is a major, multi-year project that’s focusing on the critical issues facing older citizens in Middle Tennessee. Now in its third year, the series has already focused on end-of-life issues, caregiving, aging in place, economics of aging, and health aging. In spring 2016, a new Aging Matters documentary about Alzheimer’s and dementia will be completed. In addition to documentaries, the Aging Matters project includes short videos, televised discussions, extensive community engagement, a resource-rich website and free DVDs for community partners. Watch the documentaries and updates online at the Aging Matters website.

NPT Reports: Aging Matters is made possible by the support of lead sponsor Cigna-HealthSpring; The West End Home Foundation; The HCA Foundation; The Jeanette Travis Foundation. Additional funding is provided by The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and Jackson National.

Tennessee Crossroads travels the highways and byways of Tennessee, highlighting the personalities, crafts, places, foods and events that make Tennessee unique. Explore the series by visiting the Tennessee Crossroads website.

Tennessee Crossroads is made possible by the support of the Bridgestone Americas Trust Fund.

NPT would also like to congratulate several of our friends and partners on their Emmy wins, including Todd Squared (Bluegrass Underground); The Jackson Foundation Media Productions (Tennessee’s Wild Side); and Sockeye Media (Mother Goose Club).

For a full list of winners please visit the NATAS-Nashville Chapter website at http://emmynashville.org/.

As in Mercy Street, the Civil War brought roads to freedom

Watch the Mercy Street series conclusion online at video.wnpt.org through March 6. Inside Mercy Street, a behind-the-scenes feature about the series, airs 6:30 p.m. Saturday, March 12.

 

Hannah and Adam Watkins (c. 1865). Tennessee State Museum

Hannah and Adam Watkins (c. 1865). Tennessee State Museum

By Rob DeHart
Tennessee State Museum

A recurring theme in Mercy Street is the possibility of freedom embraced by African-Americans during the Civil War. As the story progresses, Samuel, Aurelia and others take actions to decide their own fates. Throughout the South, enslaved people recognized that the war was crippling the institution of slavery, which led them to challenge the authority of their masters in many different ways. In Tennessee, more than 20,000 African-American men claimed their new status as freedmen by joining the Union Army.

Rob DeHart headshotOne of these soldiers was Adam Watkins. Watkins was born in Tennessee around 1843 and though records are unclear, he was likely enslaved northwest of Nashville in Montgomery or Robertson county. Slaves were not permitted to marry legally, but Adam had a lifelong relationship with an enslaved woman named Hannah. They had two children, John and Julia, by the time the Union Army occupied Middle Tennessee in 1862.

Many African-Americans responded to military occupation by escaping to areas controlled by the Union Army where they were often set to work constructing fortifications or, as shown in Mercy Street, working in hospitals. Allowing these former slaves to join the war effort and sometimes take up arms was considered controversial by many in the U.S. government and the Union Army. However, the calls of Frederick Douglass and other advocates, as well as the need for more soldiers in order to defeat the Confederacy, led to the creation of segregated units.

Adam Watkins enlisted in the Union Army on December 7, 1863, in Clarksville and was assigned to the 16th United States Colored Troop Infantry Regiment. He spent most of his service guarding strategic points around Chattanooga until December 1864 when the 16th participated in the Battle of Nashville. Following the battle, Watkins and his regiment pursued the defeated Confederate Army of Tennessee southward. Only two years earlier virtually every aspect of Watkins’ life was controlled by a slaveholder; now he was contributing to the surrender of the government that supported his former bondage.

Watkins mustered out of the army on April 30, 1866. Now that their marriage could be legally recognized, he and Hannah obtained a marriage license and in 1869 moved to Pulaski County in Illinois where they joined a community of other former slaves. The couple went on to have seven more children.

It would take another hundred years and overcoming many obstacles for his descendants to realize the full benefits of citizenship, but Adam Watkins laid the foundation by demonstrating that newly freed African Americans could contribute to the defense of the United States.

 

Rob DeHart is a curator at the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville where he specializes in technology and cultural history. DeHart received his M.A. in public history from Middle Tennessee State University and is a peer reviewer for the American Alliance of Museums.

Did Civil War soldiers like those on Mercy Street suffer PTSD?

Emma Green (Hannah James) and Tom Fairfax (Cameron Monaghan). Credit: Courtesy of Antony Platt/PBS

Emma Green (Hannah James) and Tom Fairfax (Cameron Monaghan). Credit: Courtesy of Antony Platt/PBS

By Rob DeHart
Tennessee State Museum

Mercy Street exposes the psychological impact of war through the moving story of Confederate soldier Tom Fairfax who arrived at the hospital traumatized by seeing a friend die in battle. Though Tom seems to improve, he eventually takes a drastic step when given the opportunity to escape the hospital and return to his unit.

Rob DeHart headshotToday Tom would likely be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD arose as a term to describe the psychological symptoms experienced by some Vietnam War soldiers returning from military combat. Symptoms included anxiety, insomnia and flashbacks to combat situations triggered by everyday activities. Conditions similar to these have gone by other names in previous wars: During World War II soldiers suffered from “combat fatigue”; during World War I the diagnosis was “shell shock.”

Did Civil War veterans also suffer from PTSD? It seems quite likely they did, but wartime records do not give us a lot to go on. Civil War doctors surmised that patients such as Mercy Streets Tom Fairfax simply suffered from “nervousness.” A worse outcome for patients was when doctors labeled them as “malingerers” or “hospital rats” who were avoiding military duty by faking illness. A systematic approach to understanding mental illness did not begin to develop until the late 19th century, thus details about soldiers’ psychological status are sparse in Civil War medical records.

For example, the surgeon for the Confederate 11th Tennessee Infantry Regiment attributed the July 1861 death of Pvt. S.W. Tucker to the “effects of measles.” However, the surgeon went on to write: “This man died of fright from every circumstance connected with his case.” The doctor recognized his patient was afflicted by something other than measles, but he had no way to diagnose or treat the man.

 A hallway in the Tennessee Insane Asylum in Nashville, 1885. Tennessee State Museum

A hallway in the Tennessee Insane Asylum in Nashville, 1885. Tennessee State Museum

Only recently have historians began looking at records of Civil War veterans admitted to mental health hospitals (then known as “insane asylums”) to see if they can determine what “died of fright” really means. Patients who were known to be veterans had symptoms that were consistent with PTSD, but drawing broad conclusions about their diagnoses is challenging. Two-thirds of Civil War soldiers’ deaths occurred from disease in camps and hospitals. How much non-combat related trauma contributed to the poor mental health of some Civil War veterans?

One thing is certain – the Civil War was a life-altering event for many people on the battlefield and the home front. It is reasonable to assume that mental stress manifested itself in participants in many different ways both during and after the war. There is still much historical research to be done in this area, but perhaps the time is right for us to finally hear their stories.

Mercy Street concludes 9 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 21, with a midweek encore Thursday, Feb. 25, at 9 p.m. Inside Mercy Street, a behind-the-scenes feature about the series, airs 6:30 p.m. Saturday, March 12.

 

Rob DeHart is a curator at the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville where he specializes in technology and cultural history. DeHart received his M.A. in public history from Middle Tennessee State University and is a peer reviewer for the American Alliance of Museums.

For Mercy Street’s patients infection was the main enemy

Dr. Jedediah Foster (Josh Radnor). Courtesy of Antony Platt/PBS

Dr. Jedediah Foster (Josh Radnor). Courtesy of Antony Platt/PBS

By Rob DeHart
Tennessee State Museum

Each of the last three Mercy Street episodes featured a dramatization of 19th-century surgical procedures: leg amputation, skull surgery (trephination) and a cesarean operation. In each case Dr. Foster and his assistants performed the procedures in non-sterile conditions and yet the patients survived. The first was a fairly common occurrence during the Civil War, but the second, the survival of the patients, was much more challenging.

Rob DeHart headshotStandards of cleanliness in Civil War hospitals were very low compared to today’s standards. Surgeons moved from patient to patient without cleaning medical instruments and bandages were sometimes reused rather than discarded. Insufficient laundry services meant that patients rarely changed gowns. Under these conditions infection and disease spread rapidly, affecting patients, surgeons and nurses.

But with so many patients, doctors were able to experiment with different treatments. One of those was to apply a compound containing bromine with its antiseptic properties to fight the bacteria that caused gangrene in wounds. Cleaning surgical instruments in chlorinated water also helped stop the spread of bacteria in hospitals. At the beginning of the war, death from wound infection following amputation was as high as 50 percent, but it became a small threat by the end of the war, thus it was one of the war’s medical success stories.

Capitol saw

Civil War-era saw used for arm and leg amputations. Tennessee State Museum

Amputations of arms and legs was the prescribed treatment for most bullet wounds because it prevented the infection in the wound from spreading to the rest of the body. The numerous amputations performed during the war ‒ 30,000 by the Union Army alone ‒ saved the lives of many soldiers. In Mercy Street’s third episode, Dr. Foster decides this is the best course of action to save a young Confederate soldier.

In one of the most dramatic medical scenes in Mercy Street, Dr. Foster drills into a patient’s skull to relieve pressure on the brain. The practice dates back to ancient times but was rarely successful because unsterilized instruments introduced into the brain cavity led to infections. Most documented cases from the Civil War show patients initially improving, then dying a couple of days later from infections.

Nonetheless, as Mercy Street demonstrates, the Civil War provided surgeons with opportunities to document diverse cases, try new procedures and lay the groundwork for the incredible medical advances that would occur in the ensuing decades.

Mercy Street airs 9 p.m. Sundays through Feb. 21, with a midweek encore most Thursdays at 9 p.m.

 

Rob DeHart is a curator at the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville where he specializes in technology and cultural history. DeHart received his M.A. in public history from Middle Tennessee State University and is a peer reviewer for the American Alliance of Museums.

Black History Month Programming on NPT

NPT is observing Black History Month with a number of exciting programs celebrating the lives and accomplishments of African Americans. We’ll also premiere our latest history documentary, First Black Statesmen: Tennessee’s Self-Made Men, about a group of African-American legislators in the late 1800s.

PBS BHM2016

 

Other highlights from our February offerings include:

Wednesday, February 10, at 11:30 p.m. If you’ve never seen the groundbreaking Eyes on the Prize series about the civil rights era, make sure to watch it this month. If you have seen it, now’s the chance to get reacquainted with the documentary. Start with  Eyes on the Prize: Then and Now, a special that reexamines the documentary almost three decades after its original broadcast on PBS in the late 1980s and includes new interviews with the series’ filmmakers and participants. We’ll air the original Eyes on the Prize series Tuesdays, February 16 and 24, at 11 p.m.

 

 

Monday, Feb. 8 at 9 p.m. Airing on Independent Lens, Nelson George’s A Ballerina’s Tale follows the life and career of Misty Copeland. Completed before Copeland’s history-making appointment last summer as the first African-American woman principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre, the film documents her remarkable return from a career-threatening injury in 2013. Copeland has enormous crossover appeal, but the most fascinating aspect of the 33-year-old dancer is her astounding talent, which combines impressive athleticism and grace.

Later that night at 11 p.m., see Copeland’s sensuous performance in American Ballet Theatre: A History.

 

 

Friday, Feb. 12 at 8 p.m. Featuring interviews filmed shortly before his death last spring, B.B. King: The Life of Riley, is a new American Masters portrait of blues legend Riley “B.B.” King. Along with King’s poignant reminiscences, the documentary includes performance clips, earlier interview segments, and testimonies and commentaries by a who’s who of musicians spanning King’s long career. The film not only tells King’s story, but also that of black life in the Mississippi Delta and the evolution of the blues. Morgan Freeman narrates.

 

 

Monday, Feb. 15 at 9 p.m. First Black Statesmen: Tennessee’s Self-Made Men is the first documentary in our new Citizenship Project about how different groups of people have fought for, obtained and maintained the rights and access we commonly associate with American citizenship. First Black Statesmen tells the story of 14 men who defied the odds to become state legislators. Eleven of the men had been born slaves and all faced the rampant racial animosity endured by freedmen after the war.

Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. Stanley Nelson’s The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution is the first feature-length film about the movement that grew out of the turbulent 1960s. Using archival footage and interviews with people who were there (as members and supporters, opponents or observers), the documentary aims to separate the history from the myths. Join us for an Indie Lens Pop-Up Screening of the documentary followed by a panel discussion with Fisk University professors February 13 at the Nashville Public Library.

Friday, February 26, begins at 8 p.m. with Smithsonian Salutes Ray Charles, in which a roster of musicians perform Charles’ arrangements at the White House. But the night belongs to New Orleans pianist Fats Domino – it’s his 88th birthday, after all – and we’ll celebrate at 9 p.m. with Fats Domino and the Birth of Rock ’n’ Roll about Domino and his role in launching the rock era.

 

 

Find our full programming lineup at http://www.wnpt.org/schedule/

 

Black History Month programming on NPT is made possible through the financial support of

Baker Donelson logo

 

Mercy Street’s premise parallels Nashville family’s story

By Rob DeHart
Tennessee State Museum

Rob DeHart headshotMercy Street is set in Alexandria, Va., but it could have easily been set here in Nashville. After the start of its occupation of the city in February 1862, the Union Army established more than 20 hospitals in confiscated schools, churches and private residences in Nashville.

By early 1863, wounded and sick soldiers from both sides were pouring into Nashville. Union Army doctors did not always provide the best medical treatment for captured Confederate soldiers. Nashville’s citizens took notice and, as Emma Green did in Mercy Street, a group of women protested the treatment of wounded Confederate soldiers in Union Army hospitals.

As a result, Union commander Robert B. Mitchell issued an order requiring three “secession families” to house 15 wounded Confederates each. Brig. Gen. Mitchell’s order had less to do with his concern for the wounded and more to do with his irritation at the women’s protest, which in his words occurred “through the mud of the public streets of this city unmindful of the inclemency of the weather.” With his order, Mitchell essentially said: Fine. You don’t like how we treat your wounded? Take care of them yourself.

Medora Carter Stephens

Medora Carter Stephens. Courtesy Tennessee State Museum

At the time, Alex and Mildred Carter lived in a house on Fourth Avenue between Church and Commerce streets, and Alex owned a business on Union Street that served as a grocery and saloon. The Carters’ home was requisitioned by the Union Army for use as a Confederate hospital just as the Green family’s hotel was in the series. Moreover, the family, not the U.S. government, was made responsible for providing bedding, food and medical supplies for the wounded. Mitchell’s order also came with a threat: If any of the Confederate prisoners of war escaped, the Union Army would permanently take the Carters’ property. Union soldiers stood guard outside the Carter home day and night while Union surgeons visited the wounded.

The Carters’ daughter, Medora, was 23 when the Union Army marched down Broad Street and took control of the city. Medora Carter likely became a nurse very soon after her home became a hospital, but what happened next shows the unpredictability of those times. Just eight months later, Medora married Joseph Stephens, a Union surgeon from Ohio. While we do not know how the family reacted to the marriage, we do know it ended in tragedy in 1865 when Medora died shortly after giving birth to the couple’s only child.

Joseph Stephens returned to Ohio after the war, and census records suggest that the Stephens’ daughter, also named Medora, spent time living both with her father up North and her grandparents in Nashville. Fortunately for posterity, the Carter family preserved Civil War mementos that are now part of the Tennessee State Museum’s collection. These items now help to tell the stories of families who never sent a son to a battlefield, but who felt the loss of war all the same.

Mercy Street airs 9 p.m. Sundays through Feb. 21, with a midweek encore Thursdays at 9 p.m.

 

Rob DeHart is a curator at the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville where he specializes in technology and cultural history. DeHart received his M.A. in public history from Middle Tennessee State University and is a peer reviewer for the American Alliance of Museums.

Mercy Street, PBS’ new Civil War drama, covers many historical themes

Mercy Street, PBS’ first original American drama in more than a decade, is set in a military hospital in Union-occupied Alexandria, Va., during the Civil War. The series airs 9 p.m. Sundays through Feb. 21, with a midweek encore Thursdays at 9 p.m. During the run of the show, Rob DeHart, a curator at the Tennessee State Museum, will write a guest blog about the series.

mercy street mary jed

Nurse Mary Phinney (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Jedediah Foster (Josh Radnor).

 

By Rob DeHart

30silentmockingbirds.com

Mercy Street touches on multiple historical themes that show the complexity of the Civil War era. The war created an environment that put everyone into unfamiliar territory. Let’s start with the two nurses, a Union and a Confederate. Female nurses participated in American military conflicts as far back as the Revolutionary War, but before the Civil War, the majority of nurses were either recovering male patients or Catholic nuns. Still, the six-volume official medical history of the Civil War, published by the U.S. government between 1870 and 1888, devoted only a couple of paragraphs to the actions of female nurses.

Trained female nurses were a radical idea in a society that viewed women’s proper role as wives and mothers, caretakers of the home who sustained the morals of the family. Putting women to work in disease-ridden hospitals where they would have intimate contact with men was completely contrary to this idea. In addition, male physicians doubted the usefulness of female nurses. They assumed women working in hospitals would faint at the site of blood (which makes you wonder what the doctors thought about childbirth), be too weak to lift patients and – worse yet – be primarily concerned with finding husbands.

Physicians themselves were in new situations. Few doctors had experience dealing with the loss of blood, bone, and tissue caused by battlefield wounds, and there was no standardized approach for treatment. Before the war, even hospitals were unfamiliar to most people because these institutions were viewed as places that served the poor and that provided no medical advantages over what could be received from a physician in a private residence.

With so many Union hospitals located in occupied Southern lands, Confederate civilians searched for ways to work with Union authorities to preserve their homes and families while maintaining their loyalties. Contraband slaves – the Union Army term for enslaved African Americans who escaped into Union lines – wrestled with their uncertain status between free and enslaved.

Thus, this brief but critical period of American history helped break down social boundaries that had been in place for decades.

No medical drama would be complete without showing stomach-churning medical procedures and Mercy Street includes its share of those. But viewers may be surprised by scenes of anesthesia being administered before surgical procedures. Until recently, popular culture has tended to portray Civil War patients enduring excruciating pain while having a limb amputated without an anesthetic (leading to the popular phrase “bite the bullet”). In reality, this did not happen in the majority of cases.

Beginning in the 1840s, anesthetics such as chloroform and ether were used in surgery. Both anesthetics, along with opiates used for pain relief, appear on the supply lists of Civil War surgeons. Only when supply lines were disrupted did surgeons conduct their work while their patients were awake. But no worries, there are still enough instances in Mercy Street to make you glad you live in the 21st century!

Please join me in the coming weeks as I will show you items in the Tennessee State Museum’s 150,000-plus collection of artifacts that connect with scenes from the show. Happy viewing!

 

Rob DeHart is a curator at the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville where he specializes in technology and cultural history. DeHart received his M.A. in public history from Middle Tennessee State University and is a peer reviewer for the American Alliance of Museums.

Join NPT’s screenings online and in person this January

This month we’re hosting three documentary screenings and discussions, including two online events you can take part in from the comfort of your own home.

Join us online viewing and live chats
The first event takes place Wednesday, Jan. 20, from 4 to 5 p.m. and is an online viewing and live chat of our original American Graduate documentary, NPT Reports: Choice or Chance?

The ability of parents to send their children to schools of their choice is at the heart of modern-day school reform efforts. But increasingly, public school choice has become a divisive concept — splitting communities among those who want students to attend any school that fits their needs and interests, and those who want a return to neighborhood schools attended primarily by children from the surrounding area and ZIP code. NPT looks at school choice in Nashville, how it has evolved and what it means to students, parents and the Nashville community.

AmGrad_Logo_Vert_Solid

If you are concerned about what kind of school will work best for your child or if you are interested in education issues generally. All you have to do is click here to watch the documentary and then type your comments (you can log in anonymously) or simply follow the discussion. Jo Ann Scalf, NPT’s senior director of education and community engagement, will moderate this online discussion.

On Tuesday, Jan. 26, we’ll host an online viewing and live chat of Aging Matters: Healthy Aging, from 12 to 12:45 p.m. This documentary examines the pursuit of health and well-being as we age from the perspective of experts as well as seniors who have found new leases on life. What is it about age that changes how we understand health? Two thirds of Medicare beneficiaries live with more than one chronic disease. But health is more than healthcare. The things that matter most in life, are the same whether you are 65, 95, or 25 – community, meaningful relationships, and a sense of purpose.

NPT producer Will Pedigo, the documentary’s creator, will moderate the discussion. Healthy Aging is the sixth and most recent documentary in our Aging Matters series. Register or sign in here.

In the community
Join us Saturday, Jan. 23, at Nashville Public Library’s main branch for a free Indie Lens Pop-Up event featuring a screening and panel discussion of In Football We Trust, a documentary about the challenges faced by high school football players of Polynesian descent. The film follows four young athletes as they navigate family, football and the future. Click here for more information.

In Football We Trust airs on Independent Lens, Monday, Jan. 25, at 9 p.m.

For more information about NPT’s events, please visit wnpt.org/events.

New Civil War drama starts Jan. 17 on NPT; local curator writes guest blog

Mercy Street, PBS’ first original American drama in more than a decade, premieres Sunday, Jan. 17, at 9 p.m. Set during the Civil War, Mercy Street was inspired by real people and follows the lives of two volunteer nurses – New England abolitionist Mary Phinney and Confederate belle Emma Green – working in Mansion House, a military hospital based in the Green family’s luxury hotel in Union-occupied Alexandria, Va.

The six-part series will air on consecutive Sundays through Feb. 21, with replays Thursdays at 9 p.m.

The show contrasts images of genteel interiors and fine gowns with scenes of appalling injuries and breakthrough medical procedures. The characters find themselves navigating a complex world of social and institutional politics, moral questions and personal challenges.

In an effort to achieve historical accuracy, the show’s scripts were vetted by a team of experts on Civil War medicine, military history, African American history, women in the Civil War, and other topics. These advisors were led by Civil War historian and author James McPherson.

We’ve invited local historian Rob DeHart to share his perspective on the series as a guest blogger. DeHart is currently writing a book entitled “Interpreting American Medicine for Museums and Historic Sites,” which will be published by Rowman & Littlefield.

DeHart has 15 years of museum experience and is a curator at the Tennessee State Museum here in Nashville where he specializes in technology and cultural history. In 2014, he curated the museum’s award-winning temporary exhibition “Slaves and Slaveholders of Wessyngton Plantation.” (That exhibition was one of the inspirations for NPT senior producer’s Emmy-nominated Tennessee Civil War 150 documentary, Wessyngton Plantation: A Family’s Road to Freedom.)

DeHart received his M.A. in public history from Middle Tennessee State University in 2001. He is a peer reviewer for the American Alliance of Museums and serves on the organization’s exhibition awards committee.

Watch this space for Rob’s blog posts in the coming weeks.