Keith Harvey ’22 can trace his interest in Civil War history directly back to his grandmother and her sisters.
“I sort of joke that I was raised by a bunch of Great Depression-era women,” he said. “They grew up in the 1920s and ’30s in Campbell County and actually knew Civil War veterans. Hearing their stories and taking day trips to Appomattox, I just fell in love with the subject in its entirety. It snowballed from there. By the time I was in high school, I was using my study hall classes to read Civil War campaign studies for avid historians, really getting into the nitty gritty. I was always thinking of ways I could turn that into a career.”
Museum work was the obvious path for Harvey, now site director for the American Civil War Museum (ACWM) in Appomattox. It’s a job that finds him wearing many hats, from organizing events to connecting with local historians to working to increase the museum’s visibility.
Harvey, who majored in museum and heritage studies, spent his first summer after graduation conducting living history programs at Appomattox Court House National Historical Park before he took a full-time gig as museum experience leader at the Lynchburg Museum.
He credits the College’s accessible faculty, small class sizes, and hands-on learning opportunities with preparing him to enter the workforce.
“Professors keeping open office hours and always being receptive to emails and phone calls or meeting to talk over lunch, so I could sort of pick their brains, was incredibly helpful,” he said.
“The hands-on training, utilizing the collections the College has in-house and learning the etiquette for handling artifacts, wouldn’t have been possible without the museum and heritage studies program. It’s incredibly unique. And to be able to walk across campus and visit a world-class museum— I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”Tags: museum and heritage studies