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.

Highlighted Jobs/Internships

THIS FRIDAY, January 23rd starting at 9:30 am till done - Join other volunteers at the East Texas Plant Material Center (6598 FM2782 in Nacogdoches) in order to cut switch grass to build a Caddo grass house at Caddo Mounds State Historic Site. The grass will be used to thatch the structure later in the summer after it has dried. Rain date: January 30, 2016.

The Civil Rights in Black and Brown Oral History Project (Texas Christian University) is hiring summer research assistants -

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

Society of Southwest Archivists Call for Student Posters for May 2016 Meeting (Deadline 2-15-16)

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 Texas Historical Commission's Diversity Internship Program is accepting applications (Jan. 6, 2016 - March 18, 2016). This is a great opportunity and our recent graduate, Norris White, M.A. History, Dec. 2015, enjoyed his experiences in this program. This is a PAID position.

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.

The Boston Furniture Archive - Summer Internships in Massachusetts is now accepting applications. Interns will receive a stipend of $5,000 plus $1,000 for travel over the twelve weeks. Housing is not provided. Please visit for more information and application instructions. Applications are due February 1, 2016.

Nantucket Historical Association summer internships which are full-time positions and include a $2,500 stipend with housing. Applications are due by February 3, 2016.

The Institute for Oral History at Baylor University provides several e-workshops - the next one, "Managing an Oral History Project" will be February 17, 2016 from 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. CST. Cost $75.00

Connecting to Collections Care Online Community has three upcoming e-workshops: Caring for Historic Furniture (January 14, 2016), Caring for Framed Objects in Small Institutions (February 9, 2016), and Much Ado About Mannequins: Making the Perfect Form (March 8, 2016). They all begin at 2:00 p.m. EST.

Power Tools for Public Historians 11-13-15
Gary Parker, exhibit designer, installer, and fabricator extraordinaire gave us a thorough introduction to power tools for small museums. We proudly helped lift the wire panels to the top of the Stone Fort's new grape arbor! Video 1 Video 2
Wet Textile Cleaning 11-13-15
Special thanks to Carolyn Spears, Curator of the Stone Fort Museum, for giving us a demonstration of wet textile cleaning. Video 1
NCPH Mini-Conference in San Marcos Oct. 10, 2015