Public History Career Introduction

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 There are many career paths for historians interested in public history. To name but a few:

  • Archivist or special collections librarian
  • Curator
  • Museum registrar
  • Genealogist
  • Historical site interpreter (e.g. park ranger, historical reenactor)
  • National Park Service historian
  • Oral historian
  • Conservator
  • Exhibit developer
  • Museum educator
  • Historical society administration
  • Preservation (nonprofit, government, or private sector)
  • General historical consulting (e.g. Section 106, landmark designation; large firm, partnership, or sole proprietor)
  • Film industry consultant
  • Documentary filmmaker
  • Humanities reference librarian
  • Developer of digital history projects or tools

You can find more careers by exploring the employment listing links at

Pick a career of interest to you. Research it online, and then interview someone (in person, via phone, or via e-mail) who currently holds that position or did so recently.

Please look over the previous interviews on the HIST 502 website and select different interviewees.

Important: Let your interviewee know in advance that you’ll be posting what she is sharing on a blog, and ask if she (and, by extension, the organization she works for) would prefer to stay anonymous. If yes, please let LMB know who you interviewed, but do not publish identifying information in your blog entry. If your interviewee doesn’t want any information published, you can, as a last resort, turn in your assignment to LMB privately.

Questions you might ask this person include, but are not limited to:

  • What path did you take to get to your current position?
  • What kinds of projects do you work on?
  • With what kind of people (demographics, occupations, etc.) do you typically work?
  • Do you have autonomy to pick your own projects, or are projects generally assigned to you by others in your organization or elsewhere?
  • What are the current issues in your field?
  • What skills are expected of applicants for an entry-level position?
  • What is the current starting salary for entry-level positions in your field?
  • How is your position funded? Is this typical for positions in your field or organization?
  • What level of education is necessary for advancement to the different levels of this profession (e.g. entry-level, mid-level, and senior positions)? Are there specific degrees that are favored, and if so, what are they?
  • What advice do you have for people interested in entering this field?

Aim for 500-1000 words.

Post your blog entry by Monday, February 13 at noon.