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Video: A look inside the Center for the Study of Southern Culture

Natalie Beth Seales

A building once meant to become an observatory has served as the chancellor’s home, a sorority house, home of the ROTC, and it now houses the Center for the Study of Southern Culture.

“The center was founded in the mid-seventies,” said Becca Walton, associate director of projects for the Center for the Study of Southern Culture. “It was the first regional studies center in the country. It’s an interdisciplinary program where we look at the South through a variety of lenses.”

Walton said the building, called Barnard Observatory, has had many different functions. “It was built to be an observatory by Frederick P. Barnard, the third chancellor of the university,” she said.

After the telescope Barnard ordered was lost during the Civil War, the building became the chancellor’s home. The Center for the Study of Southern Culture is thankful to be located in the picturesque Barnard building now.

“It’s really beautiful,” Walton said. “We’re very lucky. The fact that our students are studying Southern culture, I think, the built environment is a central part of that. To be in a beautiful place while you study is really great.”

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