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.

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.

June 13, 2016 - Exhibit Opening at the E. J. Campbell School, 449 South Shawnee Street - 6:00 p.m.

NACOGDOCHES, Texas - An exhibition highlighting the history of African-American leaders in Nacogdoches is the final product for students in a history graduate course within Stephen F. Austin State University's College of Liberal and Applied Arts. "I taught a graduate-level history course at SFA this spring, and my students and I developed, designed and produced an exhibition titled, 'Leaders of Courage: Educating, Mobilizing and Preserving the African American Community of Nacogdoches,'" said Dr. Paul Sandul, Associate Professor in the SFA Department of History. "The title comes from a quote by local civil rights activist Arthur Weaver." The exhibition will be on display from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, June 14 through July 8, in the E.J. Campbell School, 499 South Shawnee St. An opening is schedule for the evening of June 13. "The focus of the exhibition is to highlight such Nacogdoches heroes and leaders as E.J. Campbell, Arthur Weaver and Birdie Wade and the good work they did toward sustaining the community, especially as they faced the difficulties of racism and violence in a Jim Crow Nacogdoches," Sandul said. "The exhibition highlights this last reality, while underscoring the courage and leadership of these three individuals-for the betterment of the African-American community and, really, for all of us calling Nacogdoches our home today." Students within Sandul's History 570 Collections Management course spent the entirety of the spring 2016 semester digging through East Texas Research Center archives to create 10 text-based, 40-by-32-inch poster boards. The Leaders of Courage posters will be filled with historical information, dozens of historical photographs, maps and an in-depth timeline. "This graduate course and project introduced students to the essential knowledge, skills and abilities required to conduct the management of archival and museum collections with a specific focus on serving and reaching a public audience," said Sandul. "In fact, each of these students aspires for a public history career in one of these fields and is the very reason each has enrolled at SFA. "While the students read essays, extended monographs and technical briefs to familiarize themselves with the processes and practices of archival and museum collections, they had a heavy 'hands-on' emphasis to provide them with real-world experiences. Functioning as a member of a team, the students thus created an exhibition highlighting collections at the local East Texas Research Center archive. The Leaders of Courage exhibition is the product of that hands-on experience," Sandul said. QR codes, or bar codes with the capability to be scanned by smartphones, also were developed by students for the exhibition. When scanned, the codes link to Internet sites with recorded oral histories and other additional historical information pertinent to the Leaders of Courage project. For more information, email Sandul at

Dr. Sandul and the graduate students (Annabella Gutierrez, Kurt Terry, Chris Cotton, Jennifer Kellum, Katie Hutto, Allison Grimes, and Hayley Hasik) discuss the project at the opening reception on June 13, 2016.

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

Highlighted Jobs/Internships

The Rutherford County (TN) Archives is searching for a full-time assistant archivist as of 6/28/2016.

The City of Nacogdoches Historic Sites Department is hiring for a museum assistant - the position is open as of 6/15/2016 and will be filled immediately.

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

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

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.

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 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.