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CHARM Projects

Oral Histories

A major component of the CHARM project is the recording of oral histories from individuals who played key roles or can recall significant aspects of Mississippi's agricultural and rural past. Interviewers are identifying, recording, and transcribing these oral histories to provide access to the memories of people whose perspectives, insights, and experiences would not otherwise be saved.

Thus far, several interviews with pertinent agricultural and forestry faculty, staff, and administrators have been conducted. Among those already interviewed are Lyle Nelson, Rodney Foil, Ron Brown, Emmett A. Kimbrough, William Bost, Joe Cardwell, and Verner Hurt. The list of potential interviewees continues to grow and soon the oral history project will expand to include community leaders, extension workers, and others throughout the state involved in agriculture and forestry. For more information or potential interviews, please contact Ryan Semmes.

Echoes of Lloyd-Ricks-Watson

Explore the Echoes of Lloyd-Ricks-Watson collection


The importance of CHARM has been recognized by the Agricultural Network Information Center (AgNIC). AgNIC is a partnership of over 50 institutions providing online access to high quality agricultural-related digital collections that are of interest to a national and international audience. Since 2005, CHARM has been MSU's contribution to the organization, and, in an effort to expand the CHARM project, MSU has coordinated a regional initiative to preserve the agricultural and rural life of the South. MSU also hosted the 2007 AgNIC Conference in May 2007.

For more information on AgNIC, including links to other partner projects, visit the AgNIC website at

Digitization Project

Since the inception of CHARM, one goal has been to digitize and provide access to the primary source materials contained in the CHARM collections to facilitate their use in theses, dissertations, articles, monographs, statistical studies, documentaries and other value-added products. Furthermore, digitization and online access to these primary source materials will foster a greater understanding and appreciation of the role of agriculture and rural life in shaping the history and future of Mississippi and the nation. To facilitate this goal, the Library and the Division of Agriculture provided funding to hire a part-time staff member and student assistants to assist in organizing and digitizing the materials found in the CHARM collections. Through a grant provided by the United States Small Business Administration in 2006, the Libraries increased the number of staff devoted to digitizing materials in the CHARM collections and the Congressional and Political Research Center (now called the Mississippi Political Collections) that relate to agriculture and rural life. The grant resulted in hiring four full-time staff members and two FTE students for one year to work on the digitization of these collections. Additionally, the grant provided funding to acquire OCLC's CONTENTdm, a digital media archive, to house and provide access to these resources. This grant will further enhance the depth of the digital, online collections and will greatly improve the quality of the project's online presence.

The digitization project adheres to strict conservation and preservation standards to ensure the integrity of these often rare and fragile documents. High-quality, digital representations (TIFF images) of the resources are created and archived for future use. The TIFF images are used to create web display versions (JPG/PDF) and added to the CONTENTdm server. Metadata added to each piece facilitates searching for materials within the collection. Researchers will be able to search the collections by image type, description, name, subject headings, time period and other descriptors.

4-H Museum and Archives

As a part of its mission to document the educational and extension activities of Mississippi State University as a land grant institution, CHARM in 2004 became a partner in the 4-H Archives and Museum project, a project of the Mississippi 4-H Foundation. This project focuses on collecting and exhibiting materials documenting 100+ years of 4-H activities in Mississippi.

The Pete Frierson Mississippi 4-H Museum, located on the grounds of the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum in Jackson, was dedicated in late 2004. The 2,000 square foot facility named for 4-H alumnus and supporter Pete Frierson houses interpretive and interactive exhibits celebrating the role of 4-H as a youth development program and introducing visitors to today's 4-H programs. The Museum was recently renovated and the newly renovated, completed facility with 3 working galleries and 10 subject focused exhibit areas ranging from history to interactive to hands-on was unveiled at the open house during the 4-H Celebration on October 29, 2011 at the Agriculture and Forestry Museum in Jackson, Mississippi.

Collection of items for the 4-H Archives is being coordinated through Mississippi State University Library. Prior to the establishment of the 4-H Archives, the University Archives Division of the Library’s Special Collections Department already contained a significant collection of photographs, Extension records and other materials that chronicle the history of 4-H. In addition, several collections donated to the CHARM project contain photographs and other materials related to 4-H club activities. These collections and items donated to the 4-H Archives since 2004 will be used to create the exhibits housed at the 4-H Museum.

In addition, as a part of CHARM’s digitization project, many 4-H items will be scanned or photographed, and the resulting images will be stored in the CHARM digital collection database, along with descriptive metadata for each item. This CONTENTdm powered database will facilitate searching historical 4-H materials by personal name, geographic location, topical subject headings and other descriptors. Researchers will be able to search the 4-H Archive separately, or to search all CHARM collections for 4-H content.

What types of materials are needed for the 4-H Archives and Musuem? Virtually anything that tells something of Mississippi 4-H history:

  • Photos (with names and places, if possible)
  • Record books are especially desired
  • News clippings
  • Diaries, letters, notes, cards 4-H paraphernalia
  • Pins, trinkets, banners, flags, 4-H signs
  • Trophies and award prizes, especially if they represent key event awards, such as a trophy given at the very first state 4-H beef show, items such as electric appliances, silver trays, plaques
  • Uniforms or official 4-H clothing items
  • Items used with a 4-H project, such as halters, cooking items, gavels, sewing equipment, clothes
  • Ribbons must be marked as to their purpose, with winners name, and should represent a major event
  • Entire collections
  • Collections or items from notable individuals, such as political leaders, entertainers, writers, artists
  • Items that reference key historical events, such as State or National Congress events, consolidation of boys and girls clubs, early desegregation, wartimes

To donate items to the 4-H Archives, contact Ryan Semmes at (662) 325-7680, or your county Extension office.

For additional information concerning the 4-H Museum, contact Morris Houston, (662) 829-3611,

Past Projects

  • Community History Project

  • Quilt Symposium