shown: Virgin Falls, Sparta Tennessee
Dr. Van West
Director, MTSU Center for Preservation & Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area
Carroll Van West is the Director of the Center for Historic Preservation at Middle Tennessee State University. His role at the Center brings the responsibilities of directing the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area, serving as the Senior Editor of the Tennessee Historical Quarterly and being the Editor-in-Chief of TheTennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. West has been at the Center for Historic Preservation since 1985. His major program initiatives include the Tennessee Century Farm documentary program, the Rural African-American Churches in Tennessee survey and history project, and the Center's nationally recognized program of nominating properties to the National Register of Historic Places. As a professor in MTSU's history department, he teaches American Architectural History, Seminar in American Material Culture, and Seminar in State and Local History. West has directed to completion over 65 M.A. theses of MTSU graduate students.
He has published in both western and southern history, architecture, material culture, and historic preservation. His newest book is A History of the Arts in Tennessee (University of Tennessee Press, 2004). His previous books include: Trial and Triumph: Readings in Tennessee's African-American Past (University of Tennessee Press, 2002); Tennessee's New Deal Landscape (University of Tennessee Press, 2001), the first such statewide book to focus on the many New Deal-era structures, buildings, and parks; the edited anthology Tennessee History: The Land, The People, and The Culture (University of Tennessee Press, 1998); and The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture (Tennessee Historical Society, 1998). The encyclopedia was expanded and placed online by the University of Tennessee Press in 2003. This major reference work includes over 1,500 entries prepared by 560 authors. It was the co-winner of the Tennessee History Book Award and received an AASLH Award of Merit in 1999. His initial university ress books addressed community development and landscapes. Capitalism on the Frontier: The Transformation of Billings and the Yellowstone Valley in the 19th Century was published by the University of Nebraska Press in 1993; and Tennessee's Historic Landscapes was published by the University of Tennessee Press in 1995. It received a AASLH certificate of commendation in 1997,
Other books include: A Traveler's Companion to Montana History, an analysis of 23 Montana cultural landscapes (Montana Historical Society Press,1986); Tennessee Agriculture: A Century Farms Perspective, a descriptive history of 783 Century Farms, (Tennessee Department of Agriculture, 1987); and Images of Billings, a photographic history of Billings, Montana (Western Heritage Center Press,1990
Essays and book chapters have often focused on museums and historic preservation, including influential articles on Colonial Williamsburg (South Atlantic Quarterly, 1984), Greenfield Village (International Journal of Museum Management, 1989), race, class, and gender in historic preservation (Preservation of What, for Whom?, 1999), and western history museums (Preserving Western History, 2006). He has prepared numerous National Register nominations and historic structure reports as well as intensive work in preservation planning, particularly with heritage areas. In 2005, the National Trust published Getting Started with Heritage Areas, which West co-authored with Brenda Barrett of the National Park Service.
In 1994, West was elected as an Associate Fellow of the Center for Great Plains Studies at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. In 1998 he was appointed section editor for žArchitectureÓ in the Encyclopedia of Appalachia, published by the University of Tennessee Press in 2006. He regularly speaks to history, museum, preservation, and civic groups and conferences in Tennessee, the Upper South, and the nation. A native of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, West holds a Master's degree in history from the University of Tennessee (1978) and a doctorate in history from the College of William and Mary (1982).