1. Documenting Deindustrialization
The purpose of the original Middletown study was to gauge the impact of rapid industrialization during the early 20th century. A hundred years later, both Muncie and the nation are in the midst of another dramatic transformation, the shift from a manufacturing based to a knowledge driven economy. The center now seeks to document this transformation and its impact on Muncie and the Midwest. 2. Small Cities Research
The Lynds and their sponsors conceived of Middletown as a “small city study.” In keeping with that idea, the center has made the investigation of small-city experiences a key part of its research agenda. Since 2001, the center has convened periodic Small Cities Conferences. These meetings have brought together scholars and practitioners from around the world to discuss and analyze the history, present condition, and future prospects of nonmetropolitan cities both in the U.S. and abroad. It has produced numerous publications in connection with the conference and now sponsors a Comparative Urban Studies publication series with Lexington Books that encourages research and smaller and mid-sized urban settings. 3. What Middletown Read
In 2004, the center began to build the What Middletown Read database, a large body of digitized library records that document virtually every book that every patron checked out of the Muncie Public Library from 1892 to 1902. Working with University Libraries, the center plans to make the database publicly available during the 2010-11 academic year. Funding for this research has come from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Gladys Kreible Delmas Foundation. Frank Felsenstein (English, Honors College) and James Connolly (director, Center for Middletown Studies) are writing a book on print culture in Middletown in connection with the project. 4. Middletown and Emerging Media
The center is working to digitize materials connected to Middletown research and to develop virtual and web environments derived from the extensive records of research on the city. Initial efforts in this area include the development online of the Middletown Oral History Collection, the Middletown Women’s History Collection, the Changing Gears film and Vizibook project, and the creation of a Middletown Exhibit in Second Life. Plans for the construction of a Virtual Middletown are under way as well. 5. Immersive Learning
The center collaborates with Ball State faculty to develop and implement immersive learning experiences for students. During 2009-10, it worked with the Institute for Digital Education and Entertainment (Changing Gears) and the Department of Sociology (Adolescent Well-Being in Middletown) on projects tied to Middletown research.
Copyright © 2013 Ball State University 2000 W. University Ave. Muncie, IN 47306
800-382-8540 and 765-289-1241