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Stevenson University Public History Program Supports Maryland Public Television in Station’s 50th Commemoration of Vietnam War
Beginning in 2014, students and faculty from Stevenson University’s Public History program have aided Maryland Public Television (MPT) in what the station is dubbing the largest initiative in MPT history. Throughout this spring and summer, “MPT Salutes Vietnam Veterans” will honor men and women who served in the Vietnam War with a series of programs and events, including “Maryland Vietnam War Stories,” a three-hour documentary airing in three parts May 24-26.
To preview the documentary and to help raise money for the project, MPT will air its “Vietnam Initiative Preview” on Thursday, April 21, from 8-10 p.m. The program will include an interview with Glenn Johnston, Chair of Stevenson’s Public History program and the University’s Archivist. Johnston, along with 34 Public History majors and one program alumnus, spearheaded the effort to locate and provide images of the 192 Maryland natives who are not represented with photos in Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund’s “Wall of Faces”—an online database commemorating service men and women killed in action.
Since Stevenson began its involvement, the team has unearthed images for 122 of those 192 individuals through historical research and public engagement. The process includes exploring and exhausting online newspaper databases, web-based genealogical resources, and alumni collections from schools and military units. Then, students use what they’ve found to network with community groups, family members, and former military buddies. As Johnston explained, the project is a classic example of how students learn the practice of public history by “doing” public history.
“The ‘Vietnam Faces Project’ is crucial to understanding what we do in our discipline: We apply our skills in history to meeting the needs of the community,” Johnston said. “This project allows our students to learn about a segment of Maryland history rarely covered in our schools, in ways that provide an immediate, personal, and emotional connection to our history, and in service to a project located in the public space.”
Stevenson University, known for its distinctive career focus, is the third-largest independent university in Maryland with more than 4,200 students pursuing bachelor’s, master’s, and adult bachelor’s programs at locations in Stevenson and Owings Mills.