established in 1977      



Pearl High School, Nashville

The Secondary School Study Web-exhibition
by Craig Kridel, Curator
with support from the Spencer Foundation


In memoriam:
Miss Callisto Bell


With great pride, the Museum of Education begins its two year-long Secondary School Study Exhibition by featuring Pearl High School of Nashville. My reasons for beginning with Pearl High School are both historical as well as sentimental. In many respects, the Secondary School Study officially began in Nashville at the Fisk Conference, staged on April 24-27, 1940, where participating schools’ principals met with college presidents, deans, and faculty, state agents, and General Education Board staff members for the “public presentation” of the project. [more in the Curator's Statement]



With oral history interviews conducted June 21-24, 2007 with
Novella Bass
Callisto Bell
Melvin Black
Alice D. Epperson

Ann Guess
Dorothy Gupton
Walter H. Fisher, Sr.
Ted Lenox

Margaret McClain
Justine Pincham
Melvin Ridley
Lillian Thomas
Ella Thompson
And with the assistance and good cheer of the Pearl High School Alumni Association,
June 23, 2007


with special thanks to Christyne Douglas of the
John Hope and Aurelia E. Franklin Library, Fisk University

The Museum of Education’s Web Exhibitions center primarily on the academic life of individual schools during the 1940s and early 1950s, the focus of the Secondary School Study. Our vignettes serve not to lessen the accomplishments and accolades from prior or subsequent decades nor do they diminish the significance of the social and athletic dimensions of school life. Instead, the Museum presents web exhibitions   of the Secondary School Study schools as a way to feature the experimental efforts of progressive educators during the 1940s. Since these vignettes were not prepared to serve as school histories, we encourage alumni and historians to prepare their own comprehensive school accounts, histories, and memoirs of these important educational institutions.

  The Museum of Education’s Web Exhibitions have been prepared for a general audience and have not used professional terminology from the field of education. Our accounts are intentionally free of detailed bibliographic citations. The curator is currently writing a scholarly account of this project that follows accepted bibliographic practices.

  Further, these exhibitions are conceived within a tradition of progressive education where a fruitful experience raises as many questions as it answers. Thus, the information on the various sites has been crafted intentionally to be suggestive—to allow important questions "to float" through the exhibitions rather than to be answered with questionable certainty. These sites are works-in-progress and represent an "educational research charrette" as additional historical material is discovered and fresh memories, recollections, and insights come forth by participants and other researchers.

an institutional member of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience