Stephen F. Austin State University

Public History

Public History

Public historians present, interpret, and help to preserve history in a variety of venues and diverse formats. Specifically, public historians strive to apply their historical skills, knowledge, and insights in public settings and for public audiences not often associated with history in an academic setting, such as archives, museums, historic sites, public and private agencies and corporations, and non-profit organizations, to name only a few.

Public History Opportunities

At Stephen F. Austin State University students have the opportunity to develop these public history skills in a number of ways. Located southeast of Dallas and northeast of Houston in deep East Texas, Nacogdoches is ripe with many internship opportunities. As the only university in the area with a public history program, students commonly find positions or opportunities to work with museums, archives, and historic sites, as well as to find work on preservation grants and with historical societies, among other things. Our professors are intimately associated with the public history program and students are able to benefit from diverse classes and faculty expertise, ranging from memory, to the material world, to preservation, to commemoration, to cultural resources management, to public policy, to museums, to archives, to collections management, to oral history, to local history, and more. Put differently, our faculty members here at SFA are as diverse as the students they work with and are well qualified and eager to serve.

employment opportunities with public history degree

Public History Training

Stephen F. Austin State University's Public History Program strives to train students as historians - historians who deal with a passionate, engaged, and extremely diverse public audience. We offer broad training for practicing, presenting, and preserving history outside the traditional university or classroom setting. Students are trained in historical methods, with an emphasis on delivering historical scholarship in a variety of forms. Besides the many unique courses offered in the public history program, students are also trained in courses designed to enhance their history skills and knowledge, such as historiography and seminars. Students trained in public history often find jobs in such varying fields as archives and libraries, government agencies, National Parks, historic houses, living history sites, corporate consulting and history, historic preservation, urban planning, cultural resources management, museums, historical societies, documentary editing and film, and journalism. We are listed in the NCPH's Guide to Public History Programs. Here is the one-page pdf description of our program. In our academic program we strive to exceed the best practices as outlined by the National Council on Public History in its 2015 guide to public history education, the Public History Navigator.

On April 23, 2016 Hayley Hasik, Conor Herterich, Kurt Terry, and Chris Cotton conducted panel session on the use of oral history transcriptions in teaching at the graduate level as part of the Texas Oral History Association Annual Meeting at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Here is the conference program. Dr. Beisel was the session chair and Dr. Sosebee and Dr. Sandul attended as well.

Calling All Alumni - Please complete the AASLH - AHA - NCPH - OAH public history survey! This survey is specifically for you, those who earned a Masters in public history.

The 2016 National Emerging Museum Professionals Network Survey is now available.

Graduate students Katherine Jackson, Katie Hutto, and Gretchen Patterson will be volunteering as docents on Saturday, April 30th for the Friends of Historic Nacogdoches, Inc. Living History of Oak Grove Cemetery Tour from 10:00 until 1:30. Come see history come to life!

Dr. Perky Beisel gave a talk about Gilded Age Nacogdoches to the local chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution on March 10, 2016

Congratulations to Kurt Terry and Hayley Hasik who presented on a panel about mentoring the next generation of historians at the East Texas Historical Association Spring Meeting in Beaumont, Texas on February 20, 2016.

Back row - Kurt Terry, Eliel Hinojosa (College Station, TX), Lynn Burlbaw, Ph.D. (Texas A&M University)

Front row - Perky Beisel D.A., Hayley Hasik, and Eric Gruver, Ph.D. (University of North Texas)

Dr. Beisel, Dr. Sosebee, and Katie Hutto after the Saturday Awards Banquet. Ms. Hutto is a graduate assistant with the ETHA this semester and thus was responsible for helping with registration, arrangements, etc. in the previous months.

Highlighted Jobs/Internships

Heritage Travel Conference, Real Places, will be June 13-15, 2016 in Austin.

Texas Forestry Museum is hosting its annual historic sites tour on Wednesday, April 27, 2016. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the history, sites, architecture, and material culture of the timber industry in East Texas and Western Louisiana.

Paid internship at Fort Bend Museum, Richmond, Texas for Fall 2016 with housing and stipend.

Collections Management Internship at Tudor Place Historic House and Garden for summer 2016 (June 1, 2016 through July 29, 2016). Includes a $1,200 stipend. Applications due April 27, 2016.

Collections Internship at the Customs House Museum and Cultural Center, Clarksville, Tennessee. Applications due April 20, 2016.

The National Alliance of Preservation Commission's bi-annual meeting will be in Mobile, AL July 27-31, 2016. This is a great opportunity for students interested in historic preservation and the NAPC offers a student scholarship to attend the FORUM conference. The deadline is April 15, 2016.

The Texas Historical Commission is accepting applications for site manager at the soon-to-be-opened Mission Delores State Historic Site in San Augustine, TX. Opening date March 1, 2016.

George Ranch Historical Park in Richmond, Texas is accepting applications for its six-month 2016 Fall/Winter Internship. This 40-hour per week position includes a $2500 stipend and housing for the 25 week internship.

George Mason University is offering a Digital Humanities Certificate as a 15 credit-hour cooperative program between the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media and the Smithsonian Associates.

The Sam Rayburn House State Historic Site, part of the Texas Historical Commission, is offering a Summer 2016 Internship. Applications are due May 1.

Share your public history work with other graduate students at the 2016 SFASU Graduate Research Conference. The conference will be May 4, 2016 and applications are due by April 15, 2016.

The Smithsonian Gardens have an internship program for students studying horticulture, landscape architecture, archives, museum studies, etc. The applications for summer internships are due Feb. 1 and fall internships are due May 15. There are some stipends available as well.