To promote and build a shared understanding of the past in an effort to foster an inclusive future and sense of place in the Shenandoah Valley.

Mission of Project:

The mission of Exploring Rockingham’s Past (ERP) is to make accessible the diverse history of Rockingham County within the larger context of the Shenandoah Valley, the South, and the nation, through a collaboration between James Madison University and the Rockingham County Circuit Courthouse, by utilizing the courthouse’s substantial archival material.

This is a multi-year public history project coordinated and managed by Graduate Students within the History Department at JMU that will work in close association with the Rockingham County Circuit Court Clerk. Graduate students will work to build digital collections from documents found within the courthouse's archive and make them accessible to the local, regional, and national community. ERP will work towards creating transparency for the public in how historians and academics take raw and unedited primary sources and use their craft to tease out underlying themes, connections, and truths, layering them to build an understanding of the past. Each collection that graduate students digitize and bring online will include an interpretation of the past in the form of an exhibit, and based on their individual analysis of the documents. The project encourages the public to examine the documents themselves, ask questions, and get involved in the process because understanding the past is integral to building an inclusive future.


Special Thanks to Pake Davis and Liana Bayne for the long hours they endured in the basement of Carrier Library scanning the Skyline Drive documents. 

  • Chaz Haywood, Circuit Court Clerk of Rockingham County
  • Dr. Kevin Borg, History Internship Coordinator
  • Craig Schaefer, M.A. in Public History 2019
  • Kayla Heslin, M.A. in Public History 2020
  • Philip Meador, M.A. in WRTC 2020
  • Tristan Nelson
  • Pake Davis, M.A. in U.S. History
  • Liana Bayne, LET Administrative Assistant
  • Kevin Hegg, Director of Digital Projects, Innovation Services
  • Grace Barth, Head of Digital Collections
  • Selena St. Andre, Digitization Specialist
  • Caroline Hamby, Digital Scholarship/Educational Technologist
  • Lucas Wheeler, Innovation Services Specialist
  • Kate Morris, Head of Special Collections
  • Cheri J. Duncan, Director of Scholarly Resources & Discovery
  • Lisa Hartman, Innovation Services Desk Manager
  • Yasmeen Shorish, Data Services Coordinator
  • Nicole Wilson, Senior Instructional Designer
  • Eric Hansen, Learning Systems Administrator