By Mallory Bader
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the AmeriCorps NCCC team that is working here at the C.H. Nash Museum. The Delta 9 team has been here at the museum working on a variety of projects. We are so excited to have another team here with us and I am enjoying working with them. So far, they have done great work at the museum and we are looking forward to the rest of the projects they will work on in the community.
The interesting thing about this project is that it is a collaboration between three different community agencies– the C.H. Nash Museum at Chucalissa, the T.O. Fuller State Park, and the Westwood Neighborhood Association. Since this project is a collaborative one, my role is to help coordinate these activities and help to ensure that the team has the tools to “get things done.”
This is the basis of my practicum, which is a graduation requirement for the Applied Anthropology Masters Degree at the University of Memphis. Instead of writing a thesis, we work “in the field” with agencies that are working in an applied anthropology setting. Based on the AmeriCorps Team experience, I will produce a template so that the C.H. Nash Museum at Chucalissa, the Westwood Neighborhood Association, and T.O. Fuller State Park may continue to collaborate on future short-term and long-term community service and community service learning projects to address pressing social needs in the community.
The team has been working hard on various projects since they arrived. So far, they have performed trail maintenance within T.O. Fuller State Park and painted picnic shelters within the park. They have also helped with trail maintenance at the Chucalissa site to help keep our arboretum healthy and certified, as well as rebuilding stairs on our trail to ensure that our visitors can access the nature trail safely. Other construction projects have included rebuilding picnic tables and building benches for the outside portion of the museum.
At Chucalissa, the team is assisting in the construction of a replica prehistoric house at the Chucalissa site. The prehistoric house reconstruction will provide visitors with an authentic understanding of the life ways of those cultures who have lived in the site area over the past thousands of years.
Within the Westwood neighborhood, the team will perform basic maintenance on houses that are in code violation. The houses will target seniors on fixed incomes and will be selected by the Westwood Neighborhood Association. The AmeriCorps team will do the initial work and they will then make recommendations on how to keep the houses maintained. This future work will be conducted as community service through the University of Memphis, university community service groups from outside of the Memphis area, and other volunteers.
This is where my practicum comes in. Of critical importance, all of the projects include a sustainability component. My report will allow the participating agencies to utilize the resources drawn from the AmeriCorps experience and will hopefully allow them to build capacity from within to effect change within the Southwest Memphis community.
Mallory Bader is a Graduate Assistant at the C.H. Nash Museum at Chucalissa.