Community and School-Based Applications of an Historic Disaster Event

Monday, 16 July 2018: 11:00
Oral Presentation
William LOVEKAMP, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL, USA
On May 26th, 1917, the third deadliest tornado disaster on record swept across Illinois, United States. In Mattoon, the tornado killed 53 and injured 409, destroyed 496 houses and partially destroyed 124, leaving 2,500 homeless. The path of destruction was 2 ½ miles long by 2.5 blocks wide, and damage estimates near $1.2 million (1917 dollars). In Charleston, the tornado killed 38 and injured 182, destroyed 221 homes and partially destroyed another 265. The path of destruction, which passed a mile north of the State Normal School (now EIU) and was 1 ½ miles long by 600 yards wide, and damage estimates of $781,000 (1917 dollars).

This presentation will discuss the research and other related community work that led to the production of a documentary film Nature's Fury and the Human Spirit, and museum exhibit. It will also discuss the collaboration with local teachers and schools in creating a partnership whereby we share the documentary in their classes, develop of curriculum used by the teachers to facilitate student learning of the disciplines of sociology and meteorology, teach students how to conduct oral histories and learn more about the research process with hands on training and relevant examples, and enhance their general understanding of disasters and discuss the importance of preparedness.