Melanie Buffington, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Art Education, was awarded a $179,946 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for her project leading workshops with K-12 teachers exploring symbols and memory of the Civil War.
“It just seemed like a really good fit. The idea is that they want to bring groups of public school teachers to sites around the U.S. that have rich resources related to a humanities topic,” she said. “Because of the history and the art here in Richmond, it seemed like a particularly strong resource.”
Monument Avenue, where nearly all of the statues commemorate men who served the Confederacy, struck her as an underused learning opportunity.
“I frequently see buses of children heading to the Children’s Museum or the VMFA, but I’ve never seen people use the monuments as a teaching tool,” Buffington said. “Because they are made of these lasting materials, they continue to tell this very limited story to the present day. We could use the street to tell more stories.”
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