PROJECT HISTORIAN—Public History Organizations

Students will explore public history organizations, researching their formation, mission, leadership style, objectives, accomplishments, meeting schedule, etc.  Students will evaluate the quality of the websites associated with public history organizations.

Part One: Structured Engagement

  1. Skill: Foundational Knowledge—What is public history?  Find the website National Council on Public History.  Use that website to answer the following questions.
    1. What is public history and how is this type of work different from other history work?
    1. When was the NCPH formed?
  2. Identify scholarly debates: Click on the History@Work blog; describe 3-4 topics currently under discussion among public historians.
  3. Job Classifications, Requirements: Find the Jobs section, and then explore using the filters provided.
    1. What filters are available in the jobs section?
    1. Which job type interested you?
    1. Does every job require a college degree?  Explain. 
    1. Locate three jobs, read the description and requirements.  What did you find? 

Part Two: Texas Historical Markers and the Harris County Historical Commission

  • Explore the Texas Historical Commission site:
    • On the left side of the homepage, you should be able to locate Historical Markers under the Highlights column.  Go to the Historical Markers page and watch the video clip provided at the top of that page and then study the “fast facts” about historical markers.  What did you learn?
    • Select one of the following for further study (Emily Morgan, Juneteenth, Palo Alto Battlegrounds, Chisholm Trail).  Which one did you select and how is the THC preserving the history associated with this person/event/region?
  • Explore the Harris County Historical Commission site:
    • What kind of historical tours are available in our region?
    • Click on the Marker Inventory tab.  Explore list of historical sites in our region.  Select three to explore further.  Which markers interested and what did you learn about these sites and the history of these locations? (Click on the marker number to access specific details and images for each marker).

Part Three: Apply Past Experience with Current Knowledge

Consider your past experiences with museums, trips to historical sites, etc.  Where did you go?  What traits do the public historians working in these settings need to have?  What do they need to consider in their attempt to appeal to the public?  What do they need to consider in terms of business sustainability?  Are there public history websites dedicated to the public history events/museum exhibits/places you have experienced?  Formulate your response in essay format. 

Part Four: Self-Reflection

How has this assignment improved your understanding or interest in public history?  (250 words max.)

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