Department of Appalachian Studies
Department Chair: Ron Roach, Ph.D.
222 Nicks Hall
Department website: www.etsu.edu/cas/das/
The Heritage Interpretation and Museum Studies Minor is a 21-credit interdisciplinary program for students who would like to increase their knowledge of museum studies and heritage interpretation.
Northeast Tennessee is home to a large number of museums and heritage sites and cultural heritage tourism is one of the most important and fastest-growing segments of the region’s economy. This minor provides general knowledge for students interested in this field. In addition, the minor emphasizes the communication and storytelling skills that are essential to the creative interpretation of natural and cultural resources.
Heritage interpretation is the way in which natural, cultural, or historic resources are presented to the public, helping them to experience the resources, discover meaning, and form connections. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) defines heritage as “the legacy that we receive from the past, that we experience in the present, and that we will pass on to future generations.” Heritage encompasses both natural heritage (features of the natural landscape) and cultural heritage (the whole range of cultural resources created or built by humans in the past). How a community interprets and uses its heritage plays an important role in sustainable development, by helping to build a sense of community among diverse groups and individuals; creating jobs and economic growth through heritage tourism; building respect for history and for cultural and social diversity; and challenging prejudice and stereotypes.
This minor is an excellent complement to a number of majors, including anthropology; biological sciences; bluegrass, old-time, and country music studies; communication studies; geosciences; history; management; sociology; and sport and recreation management.
This interdisciplinary minor represents a partnership between several academic departments, including Appalachian Studies, Biological Sciences, History, Communication Studies, Geosciences, History, Liberal Studies, and Sport, Exercise, Recreation, and Kinesiology.