• October 23, 2019

History students work to create upcoming documentary - The Trail Blazer: Life & Arts

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History students work to create upcoming documentary

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Posted: Monday, October 7, 2019 11:36 am | Updated: 5:40 pm, Mon Oct 7, 2019.

History students are getting the opportunity to dive into a documentary production.

Students in a 300-level history research course are gathering information for an upcoming documentary by Steven Middleton based on the Louisville Fire Brick Works company and the history of the brick industry in Carter County.

“I started working on this by myself over the summer, and there’s a lot of historical work to do with it,” said Middleton, a professor of mass communication at Morehead State University.

Grahn Brickyard
The Carter County town of Grahn photographed from an drone Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, as part of an upcoming KET project about the town's brickyard, partially produced by Morehead State University history students. Photo By Dr. John Modaff / Contributor By Dr. John Modaff

Students have been assigned the role of finding photographs and researching newspapers for information from the 1880s up to present day.

Abby Coomes, a senior public history major and social media minor, is getting even more hands-on with the project after finding a personal tie.

“My great grandfather on my dad’s side did stuff with brickwork,” Coomes said. “The company that we’re looking into, Louisville Fire Brick, he ordered from them a lot. So like I kind of have this family connection that I’m going to get to explore.”

Letters between her great grandfather and the company are going to be scanned for the film.

Along with getting to explore her family connection, Coomes has enjoyed working on something related to both her major and minor.

She said that social media isn’t used as much in the history world, and that she wants to bring that aspect to it.

“I’m looking into going into historic preservation,” said Coomes. “This is something that I can put in a portfolio to show for grad school.”

Middleton said that of his 13 documentaries, undergraduate students have helped produce seven of them and those have aired on KET.

“To me, that’s the real learning,” said Middleton. “How better to help someone learn than to literally physically throw them into documentary production.”