The George Moss Collection at Monmouth University

Public History at Monmouth University

This George H. Moss, Jr. Collection libguide, created by students in the Department of History and Anthropology's Spring 2018 Introduction to Public History class, is just one example of the Department's public historians in training at work. Just a few other examples would be:

Our Fall 2015 Oral History students transcribed and summarized oral history interviews for the National Guard Militia Museum of NJ (a Library of Congress affiliate), and conducted, transcribed, and summarized oral history interviews for the Monmouth Memories Oral History Program.

Our Fall 2016 Introduction to Public History students transcribed and summarized oral history interviews and digitized archival documents for the Bruce Springsteen Special Collection and Archive.

Our Spring 2017 Museums and Archives Management Basis Students curated a crowdsourced World War I Centennial Exhibit.

And our interns have done everything from giving guided tours of Ellis Island, to field work in Jamaica, to cataloging collections for local historical societies.  

Public History classes like these can be taken to fulfill individual requirements, as electives, or as part of the Department of History and Anthropology's public history minor, which launched in the 2017-2018 academic year. The minor consists of 15 credits. Required courses are HS 212: Introduction to Public History; HS 312: Oral History; and HS 317: Museum and Archives Management Basics. Students also select 6 credits from an approved list of courses.

But what is public history, you might ask? The National Council on Public History says, "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."

Some of our Department of History and Anthropology students intend to teach at the k-12 level, some intend to continue on for their PhDs. An increasing number of our students, though, will seek employment at public history sites-as cultural resources managers, preservationists, archivists, curators, oral historians, historic site interpreters, corporate researchers, and more. A minor in public history will give these students some much needed preparation to "do" history outside the classroom. It will prepare them for "life after Monmouth."

Monmouth University's Strategic Plan tasks us with providing intellectually challenging and rigorous academic experiences that are both high impact and immersive, while preparing students for life after Monmouth. All of the courses included in the public history minor do this, with many of them allowing students to partner with local public history sites for applied learning experiences that will give them concrete skills and shine on their resumes.

Queries about the minor should be directed to Professor Melissa Ziobro,