We have edited a major two-volume study Congress Investigates: A Critical and Documentary History which covers this history of key Congressional investigations from 1792 up to the Hurricane Katrina Inquiry in 2008. We have pioneered in dealing with the complex issues and problems related to the archiving of electronic records of former members of Congress. We have conducted an extensive speaker’s series and screened documentary films related to Congress and its work and to a variety of issues related to national policy. We have hosted national meetings of the Association of Centers for the Study of Congress and the Society for History in the Federal Government. Our facilities, classrooms, and our auditorium have been used extensively for Shepherd University events and by the History and Political Science departments, and for use by public groups. We partner with Shepherd University’s Life Long Learning Program on a wide range of classes and events. We are part of the National Conservation Film Festival held on this campus each year, and our facilities are used for some of the programs in the annual Appalachian Heritage Festival.
Our core mission has always focused on the history of Congress as well as the legacy of Senator Byrd. While there are dozens of centers around the country that study various aspects of Congress, such as policy issues, congressional/ presidential relations, and civic education, most do not cover the full context of more than 225 years of Congressional history. Senator Byrd was a student of the history of the Senate and the history of the Senate of the Roman Republic. He saw great value in understanding the historical roots and the Constitutional context of how Congress functions.
We see our mission as a vital one given the fact that public understanding of Congress is so low and that public approval of this institution is at one of the lowest levels ever recorded. We believe that education about the full history of Congress will help the public and those who serve in Congress. Too much is at stake to brush Congress aside as if it is not the fulcrum of our Constitution. We follow the lead of the likes of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison who believed that the great American experiment in government could not succeed without an enlightened and educated citizenry. And we follow the lead of numerous men and women who have served in Congress who understood the value of Congress as the ultimate expression of the will of the nation, and did their best to serve us all and to uphold Congress as a central institution of government.
This coming April we will launch a traveling exhibit on the long and distinguished career of Senator Byrd which will premiere here at Shepherd University before travel throughout West Virginia and to the nation’s capital. Watch our website for announcement of speakers, conferences, films, symposia, and publications.
Please join us online or in person whenever you can. And please don’t hesitate to call on us for historical information about the U.S. Congress.