Public History

According to the National Council on Public History, "Public History  describes the many and diverse ways in which history is put to work in the world.  In this sense, it is history that is applied to real-world issues. In fact, applied history was a term used synonymously and interchangeably with public history for a number of years." Public history can be any history field directed to audiences outside the academy.

If you study public history, you might become a historical consultant, museum professional, government historian, archivist, oral historian, cultural resource manager, curator, film and media producer, historical interpreter, historic preservationist, policy adviser, local historian, or community activist, among many many other jobs.  The common element is an interest and commitment to making history relevant and useful in the public sphere.  

At NDSU a B.A. or B.S. degree may be earned in Public History. The major requires 48 credits in history courses, including a nine-credit internship. An additional 18 credits in supplementary vocational courses or an approved minor to prepare for a career in public history are also required. The Public History program prepares students for employment in fields such as archives and museums, historical editing, historic preservation, costume conservation, and archeology. The courses offered provides an introduction and experience in the following fields: 1) museums, intended to prepare students for work as a curator, interpreter, or administrator in museums, 2) archives, intended to prepare students for work with documents and/or photographs in a archival repository, and 3) historical preservation,  intended to prepare students to work with the National Historic Preservation legislation to identify historic buildings and sites throughout the nation, 4) cultural resource management, 5) digital history. For more details regarding the courses available see the Public History Curriculum Guide.

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