Public History

Amy Tillerson, coordinator
Edmund Potter

The Public History minor prepares students for professional careers at museums, presidential libraries, historic birthplaces, volunteer organizations, professional non-profits such as The National Trust for Historic Preservation, and government agencies like The National Park Service and The National Archives and Records Administration. Public historians also work as consultants, write commissioned histories, and  research and direct film, radio, and television productions.  The minor also provides prospective teachers with resources and ideas for enriching activities to support teaching history beyond the classroom.

Requirements for the Minor in Public History

21 semester hours
Four of the following: ARTM 340, HPUB 230, HPUB 300, HPUB 287, or HPUB 387
Two History courses at the 200 level or above
One of the following: HISP 226, FILM 119, FILM 264, INT 251, or BUAD 200

Public History Course Descriptions

230 Introduction to Public History (3 s.h.) (C, R)
The practice of history in museums, archives, business, media, parks, historical societies, and government agencies, including theoretical and practical issues confronting public historians today. Readings and guest lecturers address questions of audience and authority in collecting and presenting history. Students explore the relationship between history and national, communal, and personal memory and the role politics can play in public history.

300 Special Topics in Public History (3 s.h.) (C, R)
Special Topics in Public History is a seminar course that focuses on an aspect of the field of public history. Students learn how to apply the research, analysis, and writing skills of  a historian to develop and complete a project which can benefit an audience outside of traditional academia.

287, 387 Internship (3 s.h.)
Internships consist of 150 hours of practice in such areas as cultural resource management, cultural tourism research, curatorial services and material culture, digital history, educational programming, exhibit design, historical interpretation, and management of archives. In addition to their other activities, students keep a journal of their work experiences. Students may work at  a variety of approved  organizations in Staunton or elsewhere.