Albert gore research center preserving our past. engaging our present. enriching our future. gasco abu dhabi email address


Robert Alexander served in the 17th Photo Intelligence Detachment of the Army Air Forces/Corps during World War II and was stationed in Calcutta, India, from the end of 1943 through 1945. In 2003, he donated a small collection to the Gore Center that included correspondence, diaries, an autobiography, and photographs that related to his military service.

The photographs and negatives were originally digitized in 2003, but they were scanned as low-resolution JPEG files rather than high-resolution TIF files. Sarah Calise, Political and Regional Collections Archivist, asked me to re-scan Alexander’s photos and negatives at a higher quality for both preservation and access. At the time, this seemed like a quick assignment to tide me over until after Thanksgiving break when we could sit down and determine my next big project.

I methodically scanned the images that were stored in individual paper envelopes before moving on to the hardcover binder filled with print and negative strips. The strips were stored in plastic sleeves, with prints at the front of the binder and negatives at the back of the binder. I scanned the strips as a whole, making sure to capture everything, including the sprocket holes and any text written or embossed along the film’s edges. When I was almost finished scanning the strips, my eyes finally focused on two words printed along the edge of the strip: NITRATE FILM.

I took my first archives class last semester, and we discussed the preservation issues presented by nitrate film. Produced commercially between 1889 and 1951, cellulose nitrate film is unstable and incredibly flammable. electricity load profile As the film decomposes, it releases nitrogen dioxide that can be converted to nitric acid when it mixes with moisture in the film. Nitric acid is highly corrosive and can irreparably damage the film if it is not stored in optimal conditions. Additionally, nitrate film catches fire easily, burns quickly, and releases a poisonous smoke as it burns. The best way to preserve nitrate film is to store it somewhere that can be kept at 50 degree Fahrenheit or cooler with a relative humidity between 30 and 40 percent. Ideally, the safest way to store nitrate film is to freeze it, but many archives do not have the financial or environmental means to do so.

As soon as I read the words NITRATE FILM, alarm bells started going off in my head. Donna Baker, the University Archivist, immediately picked up the phone and called Jonathan Trundle, an associate professor in the Media Arts department at MTSU who specializes in photography. We asked him to help us determine whether or not the nature of the film. We consulted the book Photographs: Archival Care and Management, and it stated that nitrate negative strips were sometimes copied onto safety film with the label “NITRATE” transferring onto the new strip. We believed there was a possibility that none of the negatives were printed nitrate film. However, we still believed it was best to call in an expert like Trundle.

He inspected a number of negative strips pulled from different parts of the collection, and he also looked some of the digitized images. Based on the texture of the film and the time period in which the images were captured, he believed that there was a strong possibility I was indeed working with nitrate. There was only one way to know for certain, though: a burn test. Nitrate film will catch fire and burn rapidly; safety film (which replaced nitrate film in the 1950s), on the other hand, will melt slowly. I cut off a few small strips of run off film to test from some negatives that did not contain any images. Baker, Trundle, myself, and the other graduate assistants went outside to conduct the test. I held the strips with a small pair of metal pliers while Trundle used a lighter to ignite the film.

I am grateful that I have the opportunity to work for the Albert Gore Research Center because they highly encourage their Graduate Assistants to pursue projects in all areas of public history, not just archives. Early on, I indicated to Sarah that I had an interest in curation; that same day I was assigned a project to create exhibits on the history of MT Lambda, an LGBT+ group on MTSU’s campus. This October was the 30th anniversary of MT Lambda’s establishment, and they wished to create an exhibit commemorating the many experiences of this group. gas leak in house I was thrilled to be put on a project relating to this because, as public historians, we need to work hard at telling everyone’s story.

Walking into the first planning meeting for the exhibit, I didn’t know what to expect. I had never been a part of putting an exhibit together and I was nervous, but also incredibly excited. From this meeting I learned that I would be choosing the objects and documents to put on display, and that I would also be writing text panels to interpret these items. Joshua Rigsby, who is the LGBT+ Program Assistant at Intercultural & Diversity Affairs, had been a member/president of MT Lambda when they attended MTSU. Joshua and Donna became the people I touched base with while planning these exhibits. Joshua knew the most about MT Lambda’s history, while Donna helped me with the fabrication of the exhibit displays.

The second exhibit space at the MT One Stop tells the story of the Uniform Equality Committee (UEC) and their fight to have MTSU include sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policy. One of the cases at this location contains testimony from students and other people in support of amending the policy. Some students spoke of fearing for their lives due to the intensity of harassment they were enduring. Some spoke of being afraid to come out because of the hatred they were seeing towards LGBT+ people in general. Some people were LGBT+ allies who wanted those within the community to be equal and feel supported. The non-discrimination policy eventually passed in 2001, six years after the formation of the UEC. In 2009, gender identity/expression was added to this policy as well. This was not met with nearly as much contention as the 1995 effort.

The third exhibit space was located at James E. Walker Library. This exhibit space covered MT Lambda’s history and the many events they have hosted since the group’s founding. One story that impacted me from this exhibit space was the story of Matthew Shephard, who was an LGBT+ college student at the University of Wyoming in 1998. Matthew was 21 when he was brutally attacked, tied to a fence and tortured. He died from his injuries five days later. As a result of his death, protest for LGBT+ rights erupted throughout the United States. Matthew Shephard’s mother, Judy, was a guest speaker at MTSU for MT Lambda’s annual Spring Out! event. This October was the 20th anniversary of Matthew’s death. Much more recent events, such as the Pulse night club shooting in Orlando, cast a dark shadow and make us question how far we have really come.

Our main goal in creating these exhibits was to show that LGBT+ students at MTSU have seen this hatred, have lived through it, and have had to overcome it. The LGBT+ community has seen great triumphs in working toward equality, like the 2015 United States Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges that declared protection for same-sex marriages under the 14th Amendment. Times have changed for the better since 1980s, when this group was first founded, but achieving true equality is an uphill battle, even today. All we can do is hope and work towards a better future.

Marley Abbott was born in Nashville, but moved around a lot growing up. She lived overseas and attended TEN different schools before she graduated high school! She received her B.A. in History with a minor in English Literature from University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Due to her travels, Marley visited many museums and historic sites during her youth, which led her to study public history here at MTSU. “Being able to surround myself with real, physical artifacts and places…is what made me realize that working in a museum would be a dream come true.” She is ready to share her passion for history with the world! Marley’s currently researching and curating an upcoming exhibit on Albert Gore, Sr.

If she could interview any historical figure it would be Oscar Wilde, her favorite writer. gas x ultra strength during pregnancy After reading Phrases and Philosophies for the Use of the Young, she would ask him what he would advise the youth of today given the chance (bonus points if he did it in the form of one of his famous quips). She also desperately wants to know if the wallpaper was really that ugly?

Quinlan Odom was born in Virginia, but spent most of her childhood in Florida. She received her undergraduate degree in History from MTSU. This is her second year as a master’s student in public history, and she comes to the field interested in bettering the lives of others. She said working at the Gore Center has shown her how archival work can be vital to communities. “I love the idea of archives being centers for community action and empowerment.” She is currently developing an exhibit display for MTSU’s homecoming festivities, so be on the look out for that this October!

Casey Swank is from York, Pennsylvania and received her bachelor’s degree in social studies education from Millersville University in May 2015. She moved to Murfreesboro a year ago in order earn her master’s degree and pursue a career as an archivist. This past summer, Casey interned at Sgt. Alvin C. York State Historic Park in northeastern Tennessee where she processed the Sgt. Alvin C. gas hydrates York Papers and the Gracie L. York Papers, as well as gave guided interpretive tours of the York home. Upon graduating, she hopes to find a job as either a processing archivist or as an educational specialist for an archive.

Alissa Kane is originally from Frankenmuth, Michigan. She received her undergraduate degree in History with a minor in Public History from Saginaw Valley State University. The areas of public history that interest her most are collections management and curatorial work. Alissa is currently developing an exhibit for the Gore Center’s research room on MT Lambda. The student organization is celebrating their 30th anniversary this year, and they are the oldest LGBT+ higher education student organization in the state of Tennessee.

It’s my last week as the Bart Gordon Papers intern this summer and that is certainly cause for a touch of melancholy. As MTSU revs up for another semester with students moving into dorms, milling around campus, and Halloween decorations slowly inching their way onto store aisles, I think it’s safe to bid summer and Gordon adieu. When I began in May as the Gordon Papers intern I had very limited hands-on archival experience and even less experience working with congressional collections. I was charged with two main objects: to continue the folder level inventory of the Bart Gordon collection and create a digital humanities project based on the collection. I could not have imagined at that point in time where these two seemingly straightforward directions would lead me. Whether stumbling upon unique archival finds or cruising east toward Oak Ridge, TN for exhibit research, this summer was certainly one for the books and one that has given me the opportunity to put my archival theory knowledge to work.

Hopefully, you’ve heard the latest news–we have an updated website: MTSU’s department websites were recently switched over to a content management system with unified style and formatting, so now we all truly belong to one True Blue team! For any of you who might catch some nostalgia for the old website, have no fear because the Wayback Machine is here!

This website looks fairly dated according to today’s standards and technology, doesn’t it? You can visit our 2005 archived website here: You will notice you can click around and still visit many of the linked pages. This site has minimal graphics and color compared to the second version of our website that launched in early 2012 and closed in 2018. Here’s what it looked like on February 5, 2012:

You may be asking, “that’s cool, but what’s the point of the Wayback Machine?” For one, it’s just fun. mp electricity bill payment online jabalpur It is truly amazing how much technology and website styles have changed since the Internet became more commonplace. At the Gore Center, we could use it for our own institutional records to see how we described or promoted things online in the past. Some scholars use it for research; I used it during graduate school when I was researching Star Wars fanzines and fan fiction from the 1990s and early 2000s. Journalists or lawyers might use the Wayback Machine for accountability, evidence, or older news stories.

There were a few letters from Tennesseans that sympathized with the march’s cause, and urged their representatives to support actions that would help poor Americans. Loren Houtman from Greenesville, Tennessee wrote letters to both Senator Howard Baker and President Lyndon B. Johnson on May 25, 1968 (Gore was copied on these letters). She was particularly concerned with hunger in schools, especially after watching a CBS television program earlier in the week. While the opposition saw the marchers as a “disgrace” to the United States, people like Houtman thought outrage should be directed toward the need for such a protest in the first place. She stated, “We should hang our heads in shame for allowing hunger to exist in our wealthy nation!”

Charles Johnson, of Knoxville, agreed with this sentiment in his letter to Senator Gore dated May 22. He wrote, “It seems that this great nation, wealthy beyond the dreams of history, can do better for its poor than it has done in the past.” Johnson believed in increased funding for food stamp programs, Head Start, Model Cities, and other Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) projects. Below are the letters from Houtman and Johnson. (Click each image to view larger)