Do you have an inquiring mind? Are you curious about the past? Have you ever considered reconstructing your family tree? If so, then connecting with the past through primary sources and archival research is for you! Digging in the Archives will help you hone the skills necessary to explore the past as a history detective.
How do scholars reconstruct the past? They rely on primary sources such as letters, journals, newspapers, photographs, and meeting minutes, which contain firsthand information about an experience or event. Many of you may have discovered similar artifacts in your attic or grandparent's home—diaries, old letters, photographs, or Bibles, which record your family's history. In some cases, these rare artifacts find their way to archives—special institutions which hold and preserve these precious items. Columbus State University is home to one such archive! At the CSU Archives, you can read a first hand account of a soldier's experience during the Civil War or explore a business ledger that recorded the buying and selling of slaves in Columbus during the 1850s. You can also explore early Georgia maps, including two depicting Columbus dating from the 1820s and 1850s, to learn about the development of this Georgia community. You can also learn about the musical compositions of a blind slave who was regarded as one of the most important musical performers of his generation. Digging in the Archives will give students the opportunity to read first hand accounts so they can learn to make their own arguments about the past. This assignment will also help students to fine tune their research, analytical, and writing skills by learning the investigative techniques used by historians and other scholars to reconstruct the past.