Radford University's Anthropology Program and the Coal Mining Heritage Association (CMHA) have been joined in a teaching and preservation partnership for the past ten years in projects to preserve the mining heritage of Virginia's New River Valley.  We celebrated this partnership in 2005 by beginning a new set of collaborative projects to develop plans for a regional Coal Mining Heritage Museum and to carry out a video documentation project for the museum.

Coal Mining Museum & Video Documentation Projects, 2005-6

  1. -Experiential Project for the Spring 2005 Radford University Applied Anthropology Class.   The class consulting team worked in partnership on a museum planning project with the regional Coal Mining Heritage Association in the New River Valley of Virginia.

  2. -Development of a consulting report, Coal Mining Heritage Museum and Video Documentary Project (2005), containing recommendations and procedures for cataloging, policy, care, and exhibition for the development of a Coal Mining Heritage Museum.

  3. -The team also started a video documentation project to record mining lives and provide footage for museum exhibits.  Students continued the video documentation project through Spring 2006 (as an independent study class).

  4. -Memories from the Mines (2006), a 30-minute video documentary film.  See below for a description of the contents.

The Spring 2005 RU Applied Anthropology class worked in collaboration with the CMHA on a project to develop a set of museum plans and policies. The CMHA had started obtaining artifacts for a mining museum collection (and, in time, hopes to have a museum building to house the collection).  To help the CMHA get started, the RU research team took on the consulting assignment of researching the needs of the community non-profit mining association and then developing a set of museum organizational procedures tailored to meet its needs as it develops a museum collection. The resulting consulting report, Coal Mining Heritage Museum and Video Documentary Project (2005), lays out recommendations for a museum cataloguing and database system, museum policy, storage and care of the collection, and suggestions for displays, public outreach, and fundraising.

In addition, the Spring 2005 Applied Anthropology class embarked on a video documentation project tied to the CMHA's museum effort.  With guidance from Radford University's Technology in Learning Center, the anthropology research team started a video documentation project to record New River Valley miners and family members describing mining life and artifacts in an audiovisual format that can be used by the CMHA in museum education and future museum exhibits.  The Spring 2005 research team conducted video interviews and prepared a video DVD for the CMHA that accompanies the consulting report. 

RU students Kenesha Moseley Beheler and Nathan Juarin continued the video documentation project from Fall 2005-Spring 2006 (as an independent study class).  They developed a 30-minute documentary video, Memories from the Mines, on coal mining life in the New River Valley of Virginia. The video documents memories of mining work and the hardships of mining, home and community life, and the efforts of the Coal Mining Heritage Association, in partnership with Radford University, to preserve the region's mining memories into the 21st century.

Photo above: Former Merrimac miners, Lee Linkous and Fred Lawson, demonstrate mining equipment to the RU Anthropology team, February 12, 2005.

Photo to the right: Kenesha Moseley Beheler & Dr. Mary LaLone getting advice from RU multimedia specialist John Hildreth during the making of "Memories from the Mines."

Project Director/Professor: Mary LaLone

Research Team (pictured to the right):
Standing: Mary LaLone, Tim Jamba, Emily Moody, Lisa Nash, Stephanie Parker, Donald White, Diane Thompson, Kenesha R. Moseley Beheler, & Stacie Haynes (CMHA Vice President). 
Front row: Jimmie L. Price (CMHA President), Dustin Kia, Tammy Stiles, & Nathan Juarin.

RU Technology in Learning Center Technical Assistance:
Krista Terry, John Hildreth, Charles Cosmato, and John Walls