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Dean Hardman – Program Specialist, Jackson’s Mill Heritage Center

By Admin | June 5, 2008

Dean Hardman is an employee of West Virginia University and the lead program specialist at the Jackson’s Mill Heritage Site in central West Virginia. We recently visited Jackson’s Mill and had a chance to speak with him about his work.


Where are you from?

I am from Weston, Lewis County, West Virginia.

What has been your career path from high school to your current position?

Since I did not attend college, I have worked in many fields. I have worked my way up through the ranks at West Virginia University Jackson’s Mill in my twenty year tenure.

What are your current duties?

I am the Program Specialist for Heritage Programs at WVU Jackson’s Mill. I coordinate the operations of the Historic Area, General Store and the History Hitting the Road program.

This is a outreach program that provide hands on educational experience around West Virginia as well as other surrounding states.

What is the mission of the WVU Jackson’s Mill Historic Area site?

To provide heritage educational programs base on the life and times of Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson and the Jackson family.

How many people each year visit your grounds of the Historic Area?

On-site 40-50,000, Off-site 25-30,000.

What is your most popular program?

Candle making and paper marbling

How are you trying to grow your program?

We are always attending living history conferences and traveling to other historic sites to get new ideas.

We also survey teachers and other visitors on what they would like to experience.

Do you offer tours of the grounds for the public?

We offer school, bus and group tours of the Historic Area. We can also provide tours of the (adjacent) 4-H Center.

What is the history of Jacksons Mill?

Jackson’s Mill has two histories. It is the site of the boyhood home of Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. He lived here from the age of 6 to 18 years of age. He came here after the death of his parents to live with his uncle.

The other history is that it was the first state 4-H camp in the nation. It was started in 1921 and many of the other state camps in the nation have been modeled after WVU Jackson’s Mill.

Why did Stonewall Jackson fight for the Confederacy when he was an established officer in the United States Army?

When the Civil War began and Jackson made his decision to fight for the confereracy, there was no West Virginia. We were still part of Virginia which did secede from the Union.

West Virginia did not become a state until June 20, 1863 well after the war had started.

Jackson did struggle with his decision to fight for the confederacy since he had been a successful officer in the United States Army including the Mexican American War.

He made his decision to fight for the South since he had been born and raised a Virginian and could not bear to take up arms against his fellow Virginians.

Disclosure: The interviewer is also an employee of West Virginia University.

Copyright 2008 DailyInterview.com

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