The tale of MTSU’s Baldwin Gallery and the man who inspired it

Photo by Barbara Harmon / Contributing Writer

Video by Tayhlor Stephenson / Assistant Lifestyles Editor and Barbara Harmon / Contributing Writer

Harold Baldwin is recognized for launching the photography program at Middle Tennessee State University. He first came to the university as an industrial arts professor, but when the university’s president proposed another offer, Baldwin took it upon himself to integrate his workforce with his photographic talents and create a new program within the college.

By 1968, the determined professor had created MTSU’s very own photography program.

Baldwin retired in 1991, but he made donations to keep the photo gallery up and running. Due to his consistent dedication to the gallery, it was renamed to honor him in 2009.

“It used to just be the photo gallery, (but) we got the school to change the name officially to the Baldwin Photographic Gallery,” said MTSU photography professor Tom Jimison.

Not only has Baldwin left a lasting impression on MTSU and its photography program, but he has also impacted, and continues to impact, the lives of those within the program.

“When we lost our gallery… Harold made me cry when he told me that he was going to give us funding to bring the gallery back, and I can’t say how much I appreciate him for that,” said MTSU photography professor Jackie Kerns Heigle. “I think I’ll alway see him walking up and down these halls in McFarland.”

The photography program and gallery continues to claim Baldwin’s heart, and for that reason, you can still find him strolling the campus he once made his home.

“It’s more or less my legacy,” Baldwin said.

The Baldwin Gallery is located in the John Bragg Mass Communication Building within MTSU’s College of Media and Entertainment.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Wesley McIntyre, email

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