University of the South (Sewanee) students will help create a history “pop-up museum” in Monteagle as part of Mountain Homecoming celebrations September 24. The students are asking residents and visitors to share photographs, letters, documents, maps, or objects that tell a story about local Monteagle history. The artifacts will be displayed in a one-day-only, one-of-a-kind people’s history museum.

Items for the pop-up museum should be taken to Monteagle City Hall between 9:30 a.m. and noon Saturday, Sept. 24. The museum will open at 2 p.m.


The Sewanee students are members of a class in “Place, Memory and Identity,” taught by Margo Shea, Mellon Fellow with the Collaborative for Southern Appalachian Studies. The course explores the intersections of memory, identity, and place from a multidisciplinary perspective. As part of the class, students choose projects that allow them to engage with local communities, learn more about the area, and see firsthand how place and memory shape and are shaped by social and cultural identities.

During the Mountain Homecoming, they will help to create three local history experiences: lightning talks by local historians on the theme, “Bet You Didn’t Know This About Monteagle’s History;” the pop-up museum; and a booth for the Places Project, a community research initiative through the Collaborative for Southern Appalachian Studies that collects and shares the stories of places that matter to the people who live and work on and around the South Cumberland Plateau.

Students chose to work on the Monteagle community history events for a variety of reasons: interest in Monteagle’s history, a desire to meet more local residents, and the wish to showcase residents’ memories to create a snapshot of history on their own terms.