Public History Careers–how to do what you want.

Now a liaison for the United States with Croatia monitoring the maintenance of donated vehicles, Chris Borders started out with a History degree and a career in the National Guard. After graduating and guard duty, and miscellaneous jobs in the history field (mostly museums), Chris got a job at the Museum of Military History at Gowan Field.
Not everyone who gets a museum job gets as lucky as he did with his oral history assignment. He was to interview and catalog as much detail from as many members of the Guard that had seen combat, past and present. What he ended up creating was the largest collection of oral histories of the National Guard in the States, and received recognition from the Department of Defense for the work he had done on the project. Though the project had been assigned to him, it was not seen as work to him half the time. He got to meet the most interesting people and hear war stories that were probably only told to wives or grandchildren, or not even spoken of at all. That is one of the best parts of oral history, it’s like hearing a story from the greatest story-teller in the world; it has a time travel effect on the listener when the teller has been there and remembered so much.
Working in the history field and getting moved around to different history related jobs in Boise due to budget issues (go figure in the history department), it became clear that the position he had at the museum was not going to last forever, which is a current issue as well. The funding for museums jobs comes from the government, having a huge impact of the amount of people who can work at a museum, directly affecting the quality of the historians they employ. Typically, museum employees need a Bachelors Degree in the field, unless of course it’s a gift shop or admissions gig. To get a job at a specialized museum you not only need a degree but a great deal of experience in the field. Chris’ work with the National Guard definitely gave him the edge in getting the job that he did at the Museum of Military History. In order to be a curator of a museum, the position is most always held by a person with a PhD and a lot of experience in the department of history. There are, however, always internships that can give you the opportunity to edge your way into a museum job as well, though since everyone in this class is getting their Masters (other than myself), I would say you have a good chance anyway.
As long as I have known Chris he has been an optimistic, happy person. Annoyingly joyous at times, though when I was 10 I didn’t much care. Once I got my act together and started taking school more seriously, I began talking to Chris about history and the job field. His optimism made the bad news that getting a job doing what you really want to do in your field is rare seem like it was ok; I see that he was right now, as, at least for myself, any job in the field would make me happy at this point. He always talked to me about history, and it helped encourage me to pursue it as a career to have someone to talk about history with when I was just annoying my family with fun facts. So, even if the jobs are scarce and the research low-paying, you still get to do what you love.
Chris is currently working in Croatia after traveling the United States for his current job, which he also loves. Military and history—how many people get to work in the two fields they love the most in their life? I know I’m jealous. I probably won’t join the Guard, but it does make me think about Graduate school even more; but don’t tell my mom she thinks I spent too much money on school already. The idea of getting student loans and being in debt is sometimes overpowered by a desire to do what I really want to do, though it may not happen even then. The best advice, I am told, is to do what you can with what people give you, and keep looking for what your want; all the experience is good for you.

Public History Career Intro

Terri Schorzman, Director of the Boise City Department of Arts and History

The Boise City Department of Arts and History operates programs relating to public art, history and culture in the city. I talked to the Director, Terri Schorzman, about her position and a little more about what her department does.

The department contains three branches relating to public art, cultural programs and history. They offer online resources and guided tours of Boise’s public art, and their cultural programs include art classes, the Mayor’s Awards for Excellence in Arts & History (held every two years), and seasonal events. Their history section, which includes the office of the City Historian, offers historical research services for those who inquire for help. History events the department operates include the Fettuccine Forum, a series of lectures held each year on topics including history, architecture, transportation and politics, and Depot Day, celebrating the historic Boise Depot and the city’s rich history of rail travel.

Terri Schorzman, the department’s Director, earned her Master’s degree in public history, and she supplemented her education by working for a state parks department cataloging artifacts and setting up an oral history program. She polished her skills as an archivist by completing an internship for a corporate archive. Her other experience includes running an international research program on science and technology history. Other necessary skills she developed for her position include marketing and communications, strategic planning, and grant writing.

Though her position as Director, she supports the department’s staff in running their projects. Through her position, she works with people holding many different occupations, including historians, artists, teachers and educators, graphic designers and technology specialists, communications professionals, politicians, accountants and attorneys.

The Department of Arts and History works to meet the goals of their (and the City’s) strategic plan. Because this is a chief goal, they often pick the projects they work on based upon the plans. They also work on projects that the City’s leadership requests. The department also works with citizens in completing some projects. These include grant programs and requests, as well as opportunities for public input on projects.

Schorzman says the salary level for those starting in her field is around the mid-$30,000s. While her skills that she honed before she took on her current position include research, archival work, cataloging artifacts, oral history, marketing, communications and grant writing, she noted that “curiosity and a willingness to figure something out” are essential skills to have as well. She recommended that diversity in your skills, and the willingness to try new things will help as an applicant. A Master’s degree would be necessary for advancement within the field. Her department looks for degrees within the fields of history, art and communications, as well as American Studies.

She told me that the issues facing her field are those that many fields face today, including a lack of funding and available jobs. In addition, people in her field face the issue of relevancy. People working in history, art and humanities careers find themselves having to convey the importance of their fields to many people.

In closing, she offered some extra advice for those starting out in the field of public history. She noted that job seekers should be mobile and willing to look all over for new opportunities, as there are often more openings in other regions, especially in larger cities. She stresses the importance of diversifying your skills and certifications, and also taking courses on technology applications.

I appreciate Terri Schorzman for answering my questions, and also for the work that the Boise City Department of Arts and History does in advancing appreciation for art and history in the city.

Researcher for Films

Documentary Film Historical/ Research Consultant

I talked to two researchers who performed research for production companies, one for a smaller company focusing on documentary and commercial work and the other for a larger company working on small, independent films. From them I discovered there are two main options for being involved in the research aspect of documentary/ motion picture filmmaking.

The first is to be a freelance consultant. This allows you to specialize in a certain field of research, say chemistry or European history, and work with several production companies. This option values your expertise over your research skills. The downside to this option is that by working as a freelance researcher you constantly have to seek out clients in order to make your business profitable. This means that you could go months between jobs and it may take a long time to build up your reputation in the business. Additionally, once you specialize in your area of expertise, you are limited to working on films covering that subject. If only one film on the Black Death is filmed per year, and you are lucky enough to be hired, it may be the only income you get from films for the year. Most of the people in this profession work as authors, professors, and other full time jobs and do this a side hobby or passion.

The second option is to work as a full-time researcher for a production company. This option allows you to work on a wide variety of research topic and values your research skills over your specialized expertise. With this option, you typically work with one production company (or two if they are partnered production companies) and you work on whatever projects are currently under production. You may research the impact of red tides for one film and the Biblical basis for creation for another. The downside of this option is that you may have to work on projects you do not enjoy and do not develop an expertise on any one given subject. The upside is that you have a steady stream of income and work.

Some of the considerations for both of these jobs are that there is a lot of overtime, travel, and additional work involved. Often the job of researching is just one of the aspects of someone’s job. They may also be an associate producer, secretary, production coordinator, or even host. The smaller the team working on a given project, the more roles each person will have to fill. One of the things that both people I talked to agree upon is that in order to work in the documentary film business, you must have an educational background that includes some documentary production experience and education. This is a little less important for the freelancers than the contract researchers, but it makes both more attractive hires.

Both of their paths were pretty similar, so I’m going to talk about them as one general path. They started by working on student production in college, then did internships with production companies as gaffers (holding lights) and production assistants (helping with setting up equipment), and were finally hired. They agreed that to start in any position in this industry you have to be willing to work for free for a while. Their degrees were in communications but they thought that the MAHR might be an attractive option for researchers to look at. They work on a variety of projects from commercials, to short how-to style documentaries, to small, independent films. They said that on top of their jobs they often do a lot of volunteer work for other filmmakers. This is because most independent films are either paid for by the filmmakers or a donor, but never heavily financed. This also means that researchers who work on smaller projects are likely to get paid less, if at all, for their work than contract researchers.

Another consideration of these jobs is that depending on whether you are working on a documentary or a feature film, your role and the production’s adherence to the research may vary. For a documentary, most filmmakers want to maintain credibility and therefore stick close to the research. Though they do have the problem that faces many historians: how do they edit the material without sacrificing the voice and meaning of the original subject? Many interviews can go for an hour and only sixty seconds will be used for the film. How do you maintain the meaning and intent of the person while getting the most interesting of their comments?

For feature films, your role may be more of guidance than an authority. If you discover that the union army used a certain type of gun powder that produced a small puff of smoke but the director wants to use a type of gunpowder that produces a large plume of smoke, chances are he will go with his choice. For movies, historical research may take second consideration to the visual or storytelling aspects of the film.

Changing the canvas on which we paint history.

The Spatial History Project at Stanford was fascinating. Reviewing the Shaping the West project was helpful in understanding what they are trying to do and how many avenues of history that can connect to the project. For example, while the project focused more so on California it leaves that possibility of other states adding to the model they have set up. In a sense, we could set up a transcontinental spatial history project. Furthermore, it can be linked to all other realms of history how the railroad were impacted socially, politically, and economically. I like the new use for primary sources, it made me question how accurate or available the Union Pacific railroad’s records are? Since the company is still in business, it would seem that many records may still be intact and available.  If you have the time I would recommend reading Richard White’s What is Spatial History article. He gives examples of the other spatial history projects going on at the Stanford. He introduces how spatial history as different from “normal history.” The first of his five reasons mirrors the explanation of Landscapes “our projects are collaborative.” This project as whole reminds me of Jackson’s idea of landscapes; I think Jackson would have been supportive of their efforts.

“The Beginning of the Road” illustrated how technology has made projects, such as Alexander Hawkins idea, much easier to visualize and understand.  While Scott Berg’s article was interesting, at times it was hard follow and understand what was Hawkins’ project. I watched the Visualizing Early Washington clip and it helped me to finally “see” what Hawkins wanted to do.  This article brought up several good points. First of those points was: I was a shocked as Dan Bailey that the library would not have any books on the Washington D.C. landscape. It made me question how many other pieces of “expected history” are missing. I have run into this problem with my own master’s thesis. I had expected books and articles to be written about the Merci Train and have yet to find a legitimate book. The second point brought to light, again by Bailey, was the history drives technology. I have never thought of it this way.  However, his point is valid. Projects such as Hawkins’ are able to literally come to life and be presented to a wider audience.

I was excited to look at the findings for the CHNM labs. The website is helpful in making these free and all already created data bases for museum use. But it was not what I expected. I thought it was similar to the “7 Way Mobile Apps are Enriching Historical Tourism.” I understand that these apps and sites are available, but are they being used? I want numbers! I want to be able to see that people are using these available digital histories. I think it would be extremely helpful to rate these program on their popularity and, if possible, who is using them? Are they being used by the general public, in classrooms, or in museums? That being said, the website is an invaluable as a tool to those teaching history. I was drawn to the link “digital campus” where bi-weekly discussions about technology and history are recorded and open to comments. I was disappointed to see that the discussions do not appear as frequent as displayed and only one or two people have contributed to the discussions. This website has great potential to assist in several venues on history and that are overlooked. On an end note I really enjoyed exploring the “Lost Musuem.”

Public History Career

I have been interning at the Idaho State Historical museum now for over a year. I have always been interested in the difference between archival work versus museum studies. I do not think I would enjoy working with documents as I do artifacts. I chose to interview research assistant Elizabeth Shaver at the Idaho State Archives. What follows is her interview with my questions and her answers in italics and then my thoughts one each answer in comparison to my intern experience.

What path did you take to get to you current position? Did it require a certain degree or internship?


 I have a degree in Museum Studies/Art Education from CSU Monterey Bay and am working on a Masters of Applied Science in Security Administration at the University of Denver. I did an internship with the Fort Ord Museum and Archives before graduating and taking a position at the Monterey Museum of Art and then moved onto the City of Monterey’s Artifact Specialist. I moved to Boise and saw a position offered with the Idaho State Archives as a research assistant.
I am always been interested in the other majors that universities offer. Museum studies/ art education sounds very specialized. I think it would be difficult to find a job with that specific degree. Her answer though illustrates the variety of occupations open to that degree. Her masters degree is “applied” which I loved. To me the “applied” studies give a hands on experience that, I think, a lot of employers are looking for. Internships give the on the job training that you are expected to know once hired.

What kind of projects do you work on?

I work on patron requests into family and general subject information as well as fulfilling the requests of city, state, and county agencies for records. Also, I work on the disaster and emergency response plans for the Idaho State Archives.


 This is exactly the answer I would see from the registrars I work with at the museum, public interaction to internal requests with the historical society. This has always appealed to me because it is an assortment of projects. I like to always be working on something new constantly.

What kinds of people (demographics, occupations, ect.) do you typically work with?


I work with the general public, professional researchers, and employees of different government agencies.


Again, this is similar to the museum field.

Do you have autonomy to pick your own projects, or are projects generally assigned to you by others in you organization or elsewhere?

I have some input in the projects that I work on, but the majority of projects outside of research requests are assigned to me by my supervisor.


 If I had the chance to interview other occupations in the field of history, I would be interested to find one that allowed for autonomy to your own projects. While I enjoy working with the public and other researchers it would be nice to have a project going that was vested in my interest and hopefully by employer’s interest as well.


What are current issues in your field?


Management of electronic records is a major topic of conversation in the archives field.


 This is also so an issue for the museum. We have to not only convert our records to electronic, but keep our electronic programs up to date. This way they are more user friendly and would encourage more public use. 

What skills are expected of applicants for an entry-level position?


I would expect that an entry-leveled position candidate has a fundamental understanding of how to process and catalogue a collection. Knowledge of electronic records management is also essential. A candidate to have public speaking and customer service skills to be able to work with the general public and be able to clear explain what an archives is.


 In the field of history, and other fields I am sure, an internship is invaluable to job training. Not only does it familiarize you with the cataloguing systems set up, but should introduce you to electronic record management.  I believe what she is saying is that an internship enables am entry level candidate with the confidence to explain the field that they want to work in. I like that she noted customer service. I think customer service “phone jobs” are overlooked as a valuable skill. My undergraduate education was paid for by my customer service job. I went through numerous paid trainings on how to handle the general public from calming down a tense situation to conveying a point in a concise manner. I would argue that these skills are needed for any “applied” field that wants to engage the public.

What level of education is necessary for advancement to the different levels of this profession? Are there special degrees that are favored, and if so what they?


A masters degree is essential to advance in this field. The preferred course of study would be in Information and Library Sciences focusing on Archives or masters in IT administration. Any field of study should include electronic records management and the function and structure of government.


I think it is interesting that she mentions an IT degree here. It shows the field of history trying to embrace technology. It would not surprise me to see IT classes as required courses for any major in the near future. It could be argued that it is needed now. Advancement in any field seems linked to education combined with technology level.
What advise do you have for people interested in entering this field?


The best advice I can give is to participate in professional organizations and make professional contacts.

Get yourself known. Again this is something that is gained via internship opportunities in my opinion. This interview illustrated to me that variety of jobs out there for the field of history/ museum studies and the path that will help you get there.

Reading Reflections 2-27

I enjoyed reading about Shaping the West project in which the area of study is the growth and influence of the railroads on the Western United States.  Some of the study topics include; railroad rates, safety, and how railroads affected the travel/moving of the population.  I think it would be interesting to also study the improved technology, for example, improvement in brakes, refrigerated railroad cars, passenger cars, and luxury sleeper cars.  You may also learn a great deal about Railroads of the West at the Sacramento Railroad Museum. You may choose to learn more about the Big Four, the building of the transcontinental railroad, or look at some trains.  There are also a lot of cool shops and historic buildings in Old Sacramento.  Do you like train rides?  On weekends there are steam-powered train rides!

I also found the Mobile for Museums site interesting because it provided a list of several museums that use mobile devices to tour their museum.  The San Jose Museum of Art was one of the first museums to include the use of iPhone/ipod touch apps in their museum tour.  I also experimented with the Art in the City app, in which you may explore by places, tags, and art.  It is a great app to use when traveling, or if you want to learn more about your own area.

The last site, Center for History and New Media, is a digital archive that includes a variety of topics.  One I took a look at was the September 11th Digital Archive.  This site also relates to my public history career introduction, because I interviewed a person who worked for The Shoah Foundation, which is a digital archive of Holocaust survivor interviews.  Here is their website

Technology and the Historian’s Function

I was fascinated by the Spatial History Project’s website that was assigned for our exploration this week. I suppose it was only a matter of time before technology was joined with landscape studies to reconstruct cultural landscapes of the past. My one hesitation about this new field, however, stems from an uncertainty about how exactly “spatial” history differs from other fields. The endeavor of Richard White to technologically trace how railroads affected the landscape of the American West is enthralling and pedagogically valuable, but is it not just environmental history studied with the aid of technology? Why create a new term to monopolize a method of study that could be applied by all fields?

I also found it interesting how modern technology is changing the role of the historian. Presenting historical data through visual charts and graphs (such as Don Hawkins’ “digital renderings” of D.C.), with little to no written interpretation accompanying it, leaves the intended audience of the project to interpret the data on their own. This seems to be minimizing the historian’s function while granting more agency to the public audience. This is a good thing, in my opinion, because it makes history more accessible and relevant to the general public, and will allow them to become more intellectually involved with subjects they might find inaccessible and irrelevant if only presented through a textbook. However, this inevitably brings up the issue of how to maintain historical validity in information interpreted by an untrained public. Is historical interpretation a science—like the practice of medicine—that should be done by trained professionals only? Or is it an art that everyone should have the chance to experiment with?

The Shoah Foundation-Cataloging Reviewer

The Shoah Foundation

Public History Career Introduction

Historical Authority Supervisor

The Shoah Foundation was founded by Steven Spielberg after he completed the film, Schindler’s List.  Prior to filming of the movie, research included interviews of Holocaust survivors.  Spielberg decided to use the earnings from the movie to start a foundation to interview additional survivors, and preserve the films/oral histories.  He set up a temporary location, on the back lot of his Dream Works studios located at Universal Studios, in Los Angeles, California.  Shoah in Hebrew means the Holocaust.  Staff of the foundation were asked to refer to the foundation as the Survivors of the Shoah.

I interviewed David; he has a B.A. in history, and was fortunate to have a paid position for the foundation.  His job title was a Historical Authority Supervisor, or a cataloging reviewer.  David’s job was to catalog the interviews into a computer archive, and organize the interviews based on key words.  The reason for this was so people could search a particular interview by topic.  They would segment the interview by keywords, so it is searchable by computer.  The index included the names of people mentioned and the content, place, time and summary of what happened.  For example, conditions in Germany, Ghetto intake procedures, children’s testimonies, liberation of camps, etc.

Cataloging the interviews was a large job.  The foundation had a total of 52,000 interviews; however they were not all fully cataloged but are accessible in the archives.  Two thousand of the interviews are fully catalogued.  Jewish volunteers interviewed Holocaust survivors all over the world.  The interviews included men and women from 57 countries, and speaking 32 languages.  Using volunteers saved money, however the quality of the interviews varied.  There were always professional videographers used during the interviews because film quality of course was important to Spielberg.

Some issues that David experienced at Shoah was that he questioned how neutral or balanced did the archive turn out?  Because they were looking for certain information in the testimonies.  Only 2,000 testimonies were fully catalogued out of 52,000 interviews.  Is that a balance?  Also, most of the money for the foundation was based on fundraising.  He questioned if this practice may lead to bias because the organization relied on wealthy investors.  At the start of the foundation, 48% was funded by Spielberg, and 52% was community based funding.  One woman who was prominent in the foundation, and helped to raise money, also raised questions as to her survival of the Holocaust.  She told employees that as a child she had survived the Holocaust.  However, she remembered the events as an adult under hypnosis.  When she was interviewed, her memories did not relate to historic facts.  She was considered a prominent person in the community; however her testimony didn’t have credibility.

In order to work for the foundation, it was recommended that all catalogers had to be Jewish, because many people interviewed used Yiddish words, and spoke about religious practices.  At one point they did have some non-Jewish staff, however it took additional training to teach them about Judaism and Hebrew words.  It was also important to have a background in history, European history, and World War II knowledge.  David is Jewish and he went to Hebrew school for 7 years.  After David was hired, more employees were hired that had foreign language degrees, and master’s degrees.  Most of the foundation staff were volunteers and interns which was considered an unpaid position; however they did receive a small stipend that basically paid for gas.  David recommends working as a college professor and to try to become published in your area of interest.  When working for a non-profit organization it is difficult to find a paid position.

The interviews are archived at the USC library, as well as the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C., and the Yad Vashem in Israel.  Now, USC runs the program and preserves the archives.  If you are interested in watching any testimonies the website is below.  The last website provides free videos and materials to teachers ( Holocaust video & Civil Rights Movement videos).


Foundation Website

Article about foundation

The website below provides free materials for teachers that includes:  lesson plans, videos, posters, maps and other materials.  Fill out the form provided on the website, choose which materials you wish to order and have your administrator sign the form.  There is a video titled One Survivor Remembers, based on the autobiography of Gerda Weissman Klein, All But My Life.  It is the most interesting and informative biography I have every read.

Career Info: Exhibition Project Manager

For those who prefer to work in a more “behind-the-scenes” capacity, the public history profession offers a variety of options that do not necessarily require much interaction with the public at all. A museum exhibition project manager is not one of those options. This position would, however, provide an exciting and rewarding career to anyone who is energized by both individual projects and social interaction. I learned about this career from an exhibition project manager currently working at one of our nation’s most renowned natural history museums.

My interviewee (who shall remain anonymous) did not anticipate having this particular career—or even a career in the natural history field at all—when she was pursuing her education. While she claims that she always had a personal interest in natural history, her undergraduate degrees were in art history and material culture. She went on to obtain a Master’s in History Museum Studies expecting to find employment at a living history museum, a field in which she worked and gained experience during graduate school. Her background in solid history as opposed to natural history, however, has most likely been an asset to her and to the museum; because natural history encompasses so many different narrower disciplines, it allows for people of varying interests to work together on projects, making the projects themselves more diverse. The people with whom my interviewee works closely, for example, have backgrounds in areas such as anthropology, paleontology, and education.

As exhibition project manager, my interviewee describes her primary responsibility as “coordinating” exhibitions that the museum hosts. This task includes organizing an “internal team” for each exhibition to develop projects and conduct marketing and PR related to the exhibition. The exhibitions can be permanent, temporary, or even traveling exhibits, but my interviewee works most frequently with the permanent exhibits due to her personal knowledge of the building’s architectural and spatial requirements. In addition, her job requires a great deal of interaction with the public. While she does work some with museum patrons, her public role extends mainly to the news/media side of the public; for example, she participates in interviews and makes television appearances to promote new exhibitions. “The job is half people skills and half museum skills,” she says.

One of the advantages of this job is the wide range of opportunities that it offers. While project managers are assigned to a specific project, they can “rally” for a project in their area of interest or expertise. The position is also dependent on visitor experience and interest, so projects related to non-permanent exhibitions change frequently, allowing for a great deal of variety. Also, since the museum is large, it is able to host numerous projects with a vast scope.

The only frustration with this career that my interviewee cited–a frustration which all museum careers face–is the issue of funding. Her particular museum is privately endowed by its original donor, but funds still have to be raised for specific projects. As with all museums, funding is not always a certainty and must be consistently sought after.

Despite this frustration, she emphasized that her job is genuinely fun for the opportunity it provides her to work with other people who are highly passionate about sharing their interests with the public. For those who are interested in pursuing a career in this field, she offered the following advice: first, know what types of projects you are interested in working on so you can be sure that a prospective museum will appeal to you with the opportunities it offers; second, consider what level of public interaction you are comfortable with. Because of the highly social nature of this particular job, she emphasized that you can not be in a “bubble” in her position; you must be willing to interact with people.

Much like a history teacher or professor spends time planning lessons and catering to student interest, the museum exhibition project manager organizes exhibits and tailors them based on public interest and response. Perhaps a career as an academic historian is not so different from that of a public historian after all…though it may carry less risk of running into a reanimated Tyrannosaurus.

Technology is our friend!?!?

Ever evolving technogy holds great promise not only for academic historians, but also for society as a whole. The promise of technology to assist historians in their research and published works has never been greater. The ability of technology to assist historians can be seen into two current public history projects. The first the indomitable Richard White’s “Shaping the West” project which examines how railroads created new spatial patterns and experiences in the American West. This project uses a computer program to represent and manipulate maps and graphs.

Another public history project which utilizes technology is currently being implented by Don Alexander Hawkins. The aim of the project is to digitally recreate the capital at various periods in the 18th century. Ultimately a “video game” will be created that will allow the player to take a stroll through Washington during the 1790s.

While technology is helping historians recreate the past the most interesting developments are occuring in the field of cognitive science. While this may not interest public historians, historians of science may find it interesting. New technology will likely unravel the mysteries of human consciousness during my lifetime. One product of this is that the human mind and human consciencness will be able to be objectively studies. The subjective  realm will be destroyed. One project going a long in doing this is at MIT where researches are mapping the human nervous system. Actually its not so much human scientist that are doing this but a computer program that is being developed. Its not as exciting as mapping railroads or old capitals, but it’s still interesting (and might be more important).

Not only are scientist able to increasingly explain thoughts, emotions, intentions, and mental states, they are also increasingly able to manipulate the mind (by manipulating brain activity). The means to destroy selfishness, and ensure peace and equality are no longer an unrealizable dream, they will be achievable through technological advancement. A description of Rebecca Saxe’s work –who is creating what might be termed a physiological theory of mind–follows: “MIT scientists in Rebecca Saxe’s “Saxelab”—officially the Social Cognitivie Neuroscience Laboratory—already had techniques to identify the source of judgments and intentions in the brain. Now they have the power, via magnetic interference, to alter those ideas. Saxe’s earlier studies show a particular section of the brain is highly active when a person thinks about someone’s intentions, thoughts and beliefs. By disrupting activity there—with a magnetic zap applied through a device attached to the scalp—you can alter the process of judgment. Rather then intuition or personal bias, the judger must now rely more on facts and outcomes.”  (;