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Project Details

History's Hidden Landscapes is an applied research project highlighting the Gilbert Town Historic District, a site in the National Register of Historic Places in Rutherfordton, North Carolina. Informed by an interdisciplinary approach, this project draws on methodologies from history, anthropology, and geographic information science to further public engagement with historical landscapes. Rural historic sites, such as Gilbert Town are often overlooked within the larger agrarian landscape because they are not visibly historic in nature (i.e. containing historic structures or buildings). The goal of this project is to highlight an important historical resource and generate new understanding of and interactions with the historic landscape among local stakeholders and interested parties.

Subjects or Themes

Cultural Landscapes, Cultural Heritage, Public Memory, American Revolution, Historic Preservation, Archaeology, Early American, Public History, Material Culture

Project Language(s)


Time Period

Geographic Location

Project Categories

Content Type

Images, Mapping, Text, Artifacts, Teaching Resources

Target Audience(s)


Lori Townsend



Host Institution / Affiliation / Project Location

North Carolina State University

Software Employed

Labor and Support

This project was created in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Liberal Studies at North Carolina State University. Support came from my project committee: Dr. Alicia McGill (Committee Chair) provided invaluable direction, insights, and feedback on research, writing, and methodologies during all stages of the project; Bill Slocumb (Committee Reader) provided feedback on GIS methodologies and applications; Dr. John Millhauser (Committee Reader) provided feedback on research and written content. The GIS data represented within this project was processed or created using ArcPro and ESRI StoryMaps. During this project, I engaged with community stakeholders and interested parties via meetings and site visits. Photographs were taken in person and edited for clarity and formatting. Primary research included visits to archives and archaeological collections. The project, including additional research and writing, took one full year to complete.

Project Cost