Donna Donald, Assistant Professor, Liberty University

Proposal Type
  • Panel
  • Seeking Additional Presenters
  • Seeking General Feedback and Interest
Related Topics
  • Preservation
  • Teaching

To share successes and failures in the process of launching our first public history offerings, a few introductory classes for undergraduates. Our emphasis has been hands-on experience and working with professionals and community members with a recently acquired historic structure as the centerpiece.

Description: Some of my best experiences at NCPH have been in sessions with educators. I envision a panel of educators who are developing or teaching courses in public history aimed at undergraduates.

Our university acquired a historic structure two years ago with a vision for restoration. I have created and taught several classes over the last four semesters using this structure and the local historical society as an avenue into providing hands-on, practical experience in public history. Classes have included research, interpretation, exhibits/collections, photography, digitizing documents, investigation of historic structures, collaboration with professionals and members of the community, and presenting student work online.  I believe sharing the work of my students and our experiences might help others and offer an opportunity for feedback from panelists and attendees about how we might move forward.

If you have a direct offer of assistance, sensitive criticism, or wish to pass along someone’s contact information confidentially, please get in contact directly: Donna Donald, [email protected]

If you have general ideas or feedback to share, please feel free to use the comments feature below.

All feedback and offers of assistance should be submitted by July 2, 2017.




  1. Katie Clary says:

    I love this! I’ve gotten so many great ideas from these sessions. As an adjunct the last 2 years, I spent a lot of time integrating public history into general core 101 history courses based on a lot of lessons learned from this type of session. Happy to help if you need it, but looking forward to this session regardless!

  2. Stephanie Holyfield says:

    This is a great idea. My department has been adding public history courses. I’ve had some good experiences and my students are enthusiastic about the possibilities. I’d love to hear about this topic from others.

  3. Donna Donald says:

    I’m pleased to report that we have four panelists for this topic. I’m looking forward to seeing how it all comes together for NCPH 2018!

  4. Mike Dove says:

    This is a very timely topic, for courses in public history at the undergraduate level appear to be on the increase. Here at Western, we’re introducing the first undergraduate minor in public history in Canada. It may be worth considering how courses across disciplines may be grouped and their respective instructors collaborate on content to make it possible for undergraduate students to take either a minor or a certificate in public history. We are partnering with affiliate colleges as well as programs from outside our faculty to make this happen. It was the only way to proceed, for there was no new money available to add more courses through our department. Pooling resources and existing courses that have a strong public history component, egs. visual history, film studies, anthropology, etc., should further prepare students for the possibility of graduate study in public history.

    More sessions devoted to public history education such as this one are definitely needed- thank you Donna!

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