Public History

Then consider the

Public History Minor

offered by the NMU History Department.


What is Public History?

Fayette Park Field Trip

HS 380 Public History students on a field trip to Fayette Historical Park.


Public history specifically refers to the practice of history outside of academia in archives,museums, historic sites and theme parks, state and local historical associations, the media, the Internet, businesses, and government. More generally, public history refers to the interpretation and presentation of the past in ways that shape collective memory, popular culture, and public policy. 

Public History Student

A Public History student at Fayette Historical Park.

What do public historians do?

A little bit of everything!! Historians work as archivists, museum curators and educators, oral historians, administrators, historic preservation specialists, outdoor site interpreters, writers, editors, researchers, and public policy analysts. They develop a wide range of skills, including management, public relations, and fundraising, which are valuable in the job market.


How does the Public History Minor prepare students for careers in history?

Walking Tour of Marquette

HS 380 students on a walking tour of Marquette.

Studying public history is a way of gaining some exposure to a variety of possible history employment opportunities. The minor allows students to sample the options, appreciate the tools, resources, and skills that public historians need, and become aware of current issues, challenges, and controversies. In addition, the internship component is a hands-on experience within a local historical institution that not only provides practical training, but it also allows the student to make the professional contacts that are so important for professional development (i.e., getting good letters of recommendation for jobs or graduate school, information about possible jobs, etc.).



The minor is currently undergoing a few curriculum revisions, but these changes should be in place by Fall 2009. For current requirements, please see the current NMU bulletin.  As proposed, the new program would include:


Required Classes Credit Hours
HS 380 Public History 4
AIS 330 Archival Management 4
HS 330 Museum Studies (new) 4
HS 491 Internship 4
Electives: Choose form the following (8 credits minimum)
HS 335 Michigan History Historical 4
HS 336 History of the Upper Peninsula 4
HS 382 Historical Role Playing 1
HS 481 Oral History 4
GC 316 Geography of Tourism 4
RE 110 Introduction to Leisure and Recreation 2
AD 260 Why America Looks This Way 4

Total Credits


If interested, please contact Dr. Rebecca Mead in the History Department (