Mann-Simons Community Engagement Project

Mann-Simons Community Engagement Project

Historic Columbia, with support from an Institute of Museum and Library Services grant and South Carolina Humanities Council grant, partners with Richland One School District to provide 10th and 11th grade U.S. History students a unique learning experience. Piloted in 2011-2012 and implemented the three following school years, nearly 150 students from C.A. Johnson High School and Lower Richland High School have utilized the city’s and county’s historic house museums and other resources as a local laboratory for learning about history. This annual program includes ten in-class learning sessions, field trips, inter-generational interactions and media activities throughout the school year in an effort to improve 21st-century skills development and civic engagement. 

This project designed resources to be used by participating teachers over time. All project presentations, including reference documents, activities and materials, have been developed with sustained usage in mind. This project measures the impact of student knowledge, career choices, intergenerational attitudes, media literacy and students’ participation in civic activities. Products from this project include web-based neighborhood tours, developed in partnership with students and local neighborhood communities, student-produced documentaries and on-line presentations, and a community engagement manual. Student work contributed to the Barhamville-Kendalltown and Lower Richland neighborhood maps available on our website. 

Another aspect of this project involved intergenerational and community elders an opportunity to share their histories.  Historic Columbia partnered with Columbia Housing Authority to offer a program of historical inquiry to CHA residents.  This partnership, called “Sharing Our Stories”  is a hands-on investigation of local and personal history that includes a series of interactive programs and tours focused on how history is discovered, sharing Columbia’s African American history.  It also includes exploring family histories with the Richland Library and culminates with workshops in which residents develop their own stories to share.  Click the link to read these compelling stories from Columbia's residents: Sharing Our Stories.