The mission of the Center of Excellence for Appalachian Studies and Services is to promote a deeper understanding of Appalachia and to serve the region through research, education, preservation, and community engagement.
The Center of Excellence for Appalachian Studies and Services was founded in 1984 as one of the original THEC centers of excellence established by the Tennessee state legislature. The Center later achieved designation as an Accomplished Center of Excellence, and now includes the Regional Resources Institute (RRI), the Archives of Appalachia, and the B. Carroll Reece Museum. The RRI houses the Center’s administrative offices and focuses on research, education, and community engagement. The RRI operates both the Appalachian Teaching Project (funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission) and the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Scientific Exploration of Tennessee History. The Archives of Appalachia is one of the world’s premier collections of materials related to the Appalachian region, with more than 250,000 photographs, 85,000 sound recordings, and 8000 moving images. The Reece Museum is a nationally-accredited museum of art, history, and culture, which houses more than 23,000 artifacts.
The Center greatly benefits from its close affiliation with the Department of Appalachian Studies. The Department of Appalachian Studies is a flagship program in its field and the only full academic department devoted to the study of the Appalachian region. In 2010, the Department implemented the B.A. in Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music Studies, the world’s first baccalaureate degree in this kind of music. In 2013, the department launched a master’s degree program in Appalachian Studies, only the second degree of its kind, and also offers graduate certificates in Appalachian Studies and in Heritage Interpretation and Museum Studies.
Areas of Focus
- Advancement. The Center will pursue the necessary resources (human, financial, facilities, equipment, and technology) to support its mission and programs.
- Education. The Center will develop and support educational programs and resources related to the Appalachian region.
- Research and Scholarship. The Center will promote research, scholarship, and creative activity related to the Appalachian region.
- Preservation and Interpretation. The Center will support preservation and interpretation of the history and diverse cultural heritage of Appalachia.
- Creativity. The Center will support creative expression, through music, art, media, interpretation, and innovation.
- Community Engagement and Service. The Center will actively engage and collaborate with the community, both locally and in the greater Appalachian region.
Photo: Courtsey of Ben Bateson