Most Americans place great trust in public history settings to learn about history. As public history professionals, we need to understand what this means for us in terms of the issues we explore, the questions we ask, the evidence that we employ, the artifacts we choose to display, and how we frame our interpretive exhibits and programs. Our multi-disciplinary approach prepares students for these difficult and exciting times.
The public history program at Northeastern provides students the opportunity to explore public history and engage with its challenges, guided by dynamic, experienced faculty. Students read the rich literature of the field, exmine the newest developments, and gain invaluable practical knowledge and contacts through fieldwork placements and independent projects.
Students earning their M.A. in public history at Northeastern will develop expertise in conducting historical research, writing for exhibits and public programs, creating digital humanities projects, crafting programs for diverse audiences, learning from controversies over historical interpretation and presentation, and much more. What are the challenges and opportunities currently facing museums and historic sites? How can these institutions diversify their audiences? How do non-profit organizations balance fundraising and stability with exploration of new, perhaps risky, directions? These are just some of the vital issues that we examine in the program.
We have a wealth of cultural resources in greater Boston and our faculty enjoy close working relationships with local, regional, and national public history professionals. We invest in our students to help them grow and prepare them to contribute to the future of public history.
I am excited by the evolution and growth of public history that I have witnessed during my several decades as a leader in the field, in the National Park Service, as the former president of the National Council on Public History, and in leadership roles for the Organization of American Historians. It is a consequential time for the field. Now, more than ever, we need history professionals equipped to work with the public to unearth and interpret the past. At Northeastern, we prepare you for this work.