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Public History

Topics in History: Public History

Historians have important roles to play outside the university as well as within it. They can be involved in research or community work, be a part of museum staff, or work for a corporation; all these roles come under the heading of Public History. Public History, broadly defined, is historical work undertaken outside the university using historical methods and professional historians trained in these methods. History 400 will explore not only what public historians do in the field, but how they accomplish it. Topics discussed in this seminar will look at historians in a variety of areas: genealogy and family history research; historical interpretation in living history museums; corporate history and ethics; digital history; dealing with difficult or unpopular topics, such as the history of the Holocaust; heritage planning and heritage conservation, with particular attention to the historian’s role in community heritage; archival work and document preservation, with some discussion of records management; heritage tourism; the marketing of history. This will be accomplished not only through in-class seminar discussion but also occasionally guest speakers and visits to local organizations, where available and appropriate.


Department of History, Queen's University

49 Bader Lane, Watson Hall 212
Kingston ON K7L 3N6




Queen's University is situated on traditional Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory.