Gardner-Webb Advanced History Students Write Entries for Mobile App

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‘Clio’ Provides a Guide to Locating Historical Sites Across the Country

A student sits in front of his computer working on his entry to the Clio App. Dr. Tim Vanderburg is standing in front of the class pointing talking about the Clio app and Website.BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Why is the boiling spring only a trickle? Who was E.B. Hamrick? Who are the famous people buried in Sunset Cemetery in Shelby, N.C. Students in Dr. Timothy Vanderburg’s advanced history classes at Gardner-Webb University researched the answers to these questions and are sharing them on a website and mobile app known as “Clio.”

Named after the Greek muse of history, “Clio” was created by a history professor at Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va. Like smart phone apps that help you find a restaurant or other service, “Clio” provides users information about historical sites near their location, a map and directions. Entries are submitted by educators, students, museum professionals, local historians and other experts. The free app is administered by a non-profit foundation and has information about over 32,000 historical sites across the country.

Vanderburg met the creator of the app at The Southern Historical Association Conference a few years ago. He decided to include researching and writing entries for the app in the requirements for his advanced history courses. The website has a section that allows educators to set up a classroom page for collaboration. Students write their entries, and Vanderburg gives feedback. After editing, the entries are submitted for approval by administrators. Since starting the project in 2017, Vanderburg’s students have written about several places of interest in Cleveland County, N.C., and other areas across the South near their hometowns.

When users download the Clio App, they are given a list of historical places within 20 feet of their location. These entries, E.B. Hamrick Hall and The Boiling Springs Boiling Spring, were written by students in Dr. Timothy Vanderburg’s advanced history classes.

At the end of each entry, the author is listed. McKenzie Auten, a sophomore history major from Cherryville, N.C., said it was awesome to see her name on an entry she wrote about the C. Grier Beam Truck Museum in her hometown. This semester, she’s working on a submission about the Gaston County Museum in Dallas, N.C. The daughter and granddaughter of educators, Auten grew up going to museums and learning to appreciate history. Her relatives are involved in the Gaston County (N.C.) Historical Society, and she wants to work as a curator.

“It’s cool to be able to show people the history of your town,” Auten said. “I am able to show potential employers that I am capable of finding information and writing about it.”

Joe Johnson, a junior history major from Mooresville, N.C., was fascinated by the Old Charleston (S.C.) Jail he visited with his family. When he discovered the site wasn’t on “Clio,” he decided to create an entry for it. “It’s rumored to be haunted,” Johnson said. “It was built in 1802 and closed in 1939. It featured some of the most insane prisoners in all of Charleston.”

Emily Parker decided to use her project to find out more about her hometown. The junior history major is writing an entry for the Mauney Library in Kings Mountain, N.C. “We were talking about Kings Mountain history at my house one night, and I realized that I didn’t know a lot about certain things in town,” she observed. “I want to teach history, because most of my history teachers had a huge impact on me, and I want to do the same.”

For more information about “Clio,” visit or search for “Clio” in Apple or Google Play.

Located in the North Carolina foothills, Gardner-Webb University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university, Gardner-Webb emphasizes a strong student-centered experience and rigorous academics to prepare students to become effective leaders within the global community. Ignite your future at