Saturday, January 28, 2023

MTSU Makerspace hosts virtual reality displays in honor of Black History Month


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Photos and Story by Seth Whitehead/ Contributing Writer

Two virtual displays in the MTSU Walker Library’s Makerspace are celebrating Black History Month by educating users about the civil rights movement and telling of the accomplishments of MTSU track and field coach Dean Hayes.

The Makerspace is an area on the second floor of the library that contains technological devices such as 3D printers, virtual reality stations and more.

“I am a Man,” the first display, is a virtual reality display designed by Derek Ham, an independent VR developer who also is an assistant professor at North Carolina State’s College of Design. Using the virtual reality technology of Oculus Rift, it allows users to actually walk in the shoes of people during the civil rights movement. It will be on display in the library until March 1.

Joseph Boakye, a communications information systems major, immerses himself in the virtual reality world of Memphis in the 1960s in the James Walker Library in Murfreesboro, Tenn. (Seth Whitehead/ Sidelines)

Users will be able to see original video and photographs taken during the time period, and they will hear actual voice recordings from participants in the civil rights movement. Most impressive are the scenes created in the simulation. Viewers will see the Sanitation Worker’s Strike, as well as some events leading up to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“A Lasting Legacy at Home and Abroad” is the second display currently in the library. It explains how Hayes was instrumental in involving black athletes to join MTSU sports. Hayes is one of two coaches to first give scholarship to black students, the other being former basketball coach Ken Trickey.

“Technically, the display is out of date already,” said Clay Trainum, an external relations specialist. “We put it up earlier this month, and not this past weekend, but the weekend before, Dean Hayes went and won another title and another Coach of the Year award. The numbers on the sign are all wrong.”

“A Lasting Legacy at Home and Abroad” displays facts about Dean Hayes and showcases some significant historical items in the James Walker Library in Murfreesboro, Tenn. (Seth Whitehead/ Sidelines)

The display will run until April 14 and is located in the first floor of the MTSU library.

To contact News Editor Angele Latham, email

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