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.
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.
In early March public history graduate student Kurt Terry will be presenting at the Texas State Historical Association meeting in Houston and in late March public history graduate student Hayley Hasik will be attending the Texas Oral History Association meeting in Lubbock. She is currently a board member of TOHA.
We do enjoy our fieldtrips - on Saturday, April 8, 2017 we took SFASU students enrolled in any history course to the Southern Forest Heritage Museum in Long Leaf, Louisiana. This former company sawmill town is largely intact and has numerous interpretive materials and lots of artifacts and buildings to explore.
- The SFASU Graduate Research Conference will be Thursday, April 20, 2017 in the Baker Pattillo Student Center - two graduate students, Kurt Terry and Gretchen Patterson, will be presenting papers at the conference.
- The Society of Southwest Archivists invite students to submit abstracts for poster presentations at its 2017 Meeting in Fayetteville, AR, May 24-27 - the deadline to submit is April 21, 2017.
- Mission Delores State Historic Site is accepting applications for its Fall 2017 Internship. You may received graduate credit for this work through HIS583 - Practicum in Public History or as an Internship in Public History for undergraduates.
- Sam Rayburn House State Historic Site, Texas Historical Commission, Internships 2017. Option I/Collections: Interns may work on one or more of the following projects: packing and storing artifacts; cataloging and researching the museum collection; taking digital photographs of artifacts; re-housing and cleaning artifacts; data entry of collections records; and organizing site resources. Option II/Interpretation: Interns may work on one or more of the following projects: develop themed tours of historic house; develop engaging programming and events for the Sam Rayburn House State Historic Site; develop off-site programming and outreach for schools and other community organizations; and develop multi-sensory tours and/or accessible tours for groups with various abilities. This is an unpaid position. Submit resume, official transcript and the completed Texas Historical Commission internship application, found here: http://www.thc.state.tx.us/about-us/job-openings/internship-program to: Texas Historical Commission Staff Services, Attn: Internship Program P.O. Box 12276 Austin, TX 78711. Deadline is January 1st for spring semester, May 1st for summer semester, and September 1st for fall semester.