Public History Alumni
Our Newest Alumni
Shakti Castro (M.A., 2017) Communications and Community Engagement Coordinator for BOOM!Health (Bronx, New York)
Born and raised in The Bronx, New York, I received my Bachelor's degree in Media Studies and English Literature from Hunter College of the City University of New York. While still an undergraduate, I began working as a research assistant at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at CUNY, where I was able to combine my interests in history, storytelling, Postcolonial studies, and activism in order to help document the history of the Puerto Rican community in Diaspora. My work as a research assistant evolved into a key role in the Centro's latest oral history project. Having spent four years at the Center, I've been able to focus in on what I'd like my research and my activism to do; help preserve the usually marginalized voices of this community via oral history.
As an interdisciplinary scholar, actively code switching between the academy and the community, I'm interested in learning, and teaching, inclusive, radical history to wider, more diverse audiences, especially those groups that are usually underrepresented in higher education, and other institutional spaces. For more about my oral history work and academic activism, please see my website at www.wiselatinamedia.com.
Katherine Fecteau (M.A., 2017) Independent Consultant, Deerfield, MA
Since visiting my first museums as a kid, I’ve believed in the emotional and educational power of objects. Even as an eleven year old, I knew that I wanted to work with historic objects in some way. I studied anthropology and history in college, hoping to pursue a career as an archaeologist. By the time I applied to grad school, however, I had decided to train for a career working with museum collections. While at UMass Amherst, I had the opportunity to intern in the Curatorial Department at Historic Deerfield, design several exhibits, and conduct in depth research on historic objects.
After graduating with my MA, I spent three months interning for the Boston Furniture Archive where I worked at several sites in the greater Boston area analyzing and photographing select items in the institutions’ collections. Since completing that internship, I have returned to my job as a Museum Attendant at Historic Deerfield and begun a research contract on a late-eighteenth-century Connecticut cabinetmaking shop.
Gregg Mitchell (M.A., 2017)
I graduated from Westfield State University in the Spring of 2012 with my B.S.E. and Initial Licensure in Elementary Education. I worked in Holyoke, MA for four years in various educational capacities including classroom teacher, after-school program instructor, and student mentor in grades K-12.
In the Fall of 2013, I received my B.A. in History at UMass Amherst. During this time, I worked with several local historical institutions in the area on a variety of projects. I was an archival assistant intern at the Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke, MA, in which I helped re-design and implement their Immigration Experience curriculum about the city of Holyoke. In addition, I conducted research for a community organization in Holyoke called Nueva Esperanza. I worked with this group to create information panels on various aspects of Holyoke, Puerto Rican culture, and important political issues for urban communities. Also, I designed a curriculum for teaching a unit using these panels. With this internship opportunities and working with Professor Jon Olsen to develop a digital walking tour for the town of Amherst, MA, I developed a strong passion for making history accessible to the public.
Combining my skills as an educator with my extensive knowledge of history influenced my decision to seek an advanced degree in the field of Public History. I am interested in exploring how to interpret local histories for communities, with particular focus in using museums and archives to achieve this goal.
Selena Moon (M.A., 2017)
I graduated with my Bachelor's in History from Smith College in 2009 with a concentration in women's history. During my sophomore year, I took an American Studies course called "The Narratives of Internment" about the Japanese-American internment. My project for that class was researching bi-racial internees and bi-racial couples, after reading Jeanne Wakatsuki-Houston's "Farewell to Manzanar" and finding a reference to an African-American woman who had accompanied her husband there. My seminar paper dovetailed from that to discussing Japanese and Japanese-Americans at Smith. I became obsessed with my project and realized how much I enjoyed research and writing.
Several years after graduating, I found myself drifting back toward my research interests when I began reading more internee autobiographies. I was fascinated by the personal connections many of the internees shared, including names of those I had found in the Smith archives. As I researched other aspects of the internment, I learned about the array of books written about Japanese-American history, from the long history of Japanese immigration to the psychological and economic impact of the interment. What started as a hobby of trying to connect the internees through their shared personal and professional experiences blossomed and I decided to continue my study of history and learn how to write for the public. I knew that I wanted to return to the east coast (I was home in Minnesota at the time) and was thrilled to discover the writing track of the Public History Program at UMass. My main focus is Asian-American history and I am eager to discover other interests as I pursue my degree.
In the summer of 2016, I interned at the National Museum of American History with the Executive Order 9066 exhibit opening in February 2017. The exhibit commemorates the 75th anniversary of President Franklin Roosevelt signing Executive Order 9066 which led to 120,000 Japanese-Americans being interned during World War II. I catalogued donated artifacts, researched the historical significance of the objects and the biographies of the owners. It added a great deal of depth to the objects to know their history and showed me just how much material there was associated with the Japanese-American internment. I hope to return to perform in-depth research on the hundreds of artifacts that I was only able to glimpse during my internship and time in the UMass Public History program.
Sara Patton (M.A., 2017), Engagement Site Manager, The Old Manse, The Trustees of the Reservation (Concord, MA)
Sara Patton received her BA in History from Carleton College in 2010. She fell in love with the National Park Service after interning at the John F. Kennedy National Historic Site, and worked for a variety of National Park Service Units before becoming the lead park ranger at the John F. Kennedy National Historic Site in 2012. Inspired by the Imperiled Promise Report on the state of history in the National Park Service, Sara decided to go to graduate school to help shape the history program within the National Park Service. Sara began the MA program in 2015, in part because of Marla Miller's co-authorship of the Imperiled Promise Report. Sara's graduate work focused on landscape, memory and identity; her thesis Springing Forth Anew: Progress, Preservation, and Park-Building at Roger Williams National Memorial (found here) analyzed the role of community members in creating a national park unit during a period of urban renewal in Providence, Rhode Island. Following her graduation in 2017 with certificates in Public History and Cultural Landscape Management, Sara interned with the History Program of the Northeast Region of the National Park Service before accepting the position of Engagement Site Manager at the Old Manse, a property of the Trustees of the Reservation, in Concord MA. In this role, Sara designs interpretive program, trains and manages interpretive staff, organizes special events and programming, and serves as a liaison to the community.
Rebekkah Rubin (M.A., 2017), Freelance History Writer
Originally from Canton, Ohio, I received my B.A. in History from Oberlin College in 2013. After graduating, I worked as a historical interpreter at Old World Wisconsin—a living history museum—and crafted educational programming for children at Madison Children’s Museum. I also served as the Volunteer Coordinator for an elementary school in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, where I helped match at-risk students with community volunteers for literacy tutoring sessions. After working in these diverse roles that all emphasized education and communication, I decided to attend UMass to learn more about how to make history accessible and interesting for varying audiences.
I received my Masters in History with a Graduate Certificate in Public History in 2017. While at UMass, I completed fields of study in public history with an emphasis on writing beyond the academy, modern European history, and history of the book. Those interests melded into my article-length paper entitled “‘Unhistoric Acts: American Women Reading George Eliot in the Progressive Era,” which won the Caldwell Writing Prize. During the summer of 2016, I received a Hyde Fellowship and completed two internships focused on publishing and writing history at University of Massachusetts Press and Belt Magazine. My passion for communicating history shaped my studies, practice, and teaching style; I was honored to receive the Ermonian Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching in 2017. I am currently a freelance history writer, and I enjoy writing on the role public history plays in our everyday lives, from museums and historic sites to historical memory and memorial, as well as the intersections between history and works of fiction and historical fiction. My work has appeared in Belt Magazine, Smithsonian.com, The Week, and Electric Literature.
Danping Wang (M.A., 2017), Ph.D. Student, Columbia University (New York, New York)
I was first introduced to the idea of public history in an undergraduate course offered by professor CHEN Xin in Zhejiang University. Having heard of this concept, I was immediately intrigued by its focus on sharing authority. Interested in learning more about public history, I worked as a volunteer for the first Public History Faculty Training in China in the summer of 2014, where I was lucky enough to meet and talk to professor David Glassberg and alumni Richard Anderson of the UMass Amherst public history program.
After I got admitted to the history MA/public history program at UMass Amherst, I focused on studying Modern Chinese history and exploring theories and practice of historic preservation. I took several courses with the Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning department and the Architecture Department, which better prepared me in terms of preservation theories. The faculty members and alumni of the program offered great assistance in terms of reaching out and finding internships. During my time at UMass Amherst, I took several different internships, working with a range or organizations from Historic Northampton to the New York Preservation Archive Project and the Lower East Side Preservation Initiative. When I worked for City Lore in New York City, I studied places that matter to Chinese communities in Manhattan’s Chinatown, which have been largely ignored by preservationists. While an MA student I decided to pursue my studies at the PhD level, and after leaving UMass Amherst accepted admission at Columbia University.
Rose Gallenberger (M.A., 2016), Site Manage, Mount Clare Museum House (Baltimore, MD)
I completed my BA at Wisconsin Lutheran College, a small liberal arts college (approximately 1000 students when I attended) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. While I received a good foundation in writing and research, I did not get the sense that material culture was “real history.” It was not until my second semester in the public history program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst that I came to realize that I could research objects and the broader concept of material culture academically.
Even though my primary interest is in early American material culture, I knew a public history program was the path for me. Rather than examining objects in a vacuum or within their historical context only, I wanted to be able to consider the needs of the public and what broader narrative concerning the tangible past I could communicate with them and how. My primary interest is the placement of material culture within the context of a living history museum or an historic home.
I was able to apply what I learned in the public history classroom at the living history level. With the support of the UMass Public History Program's Hyde Fellowship, I completed my summer internship researching 17th century Maryland material culture to evaluate the interpretive collections at the Godiah Spray plantation. I provided documentation for the reproductions used at the recreated 17th century plantation and began creating a master list of items found in early Maryland probate inventories. After obtaining my masters, I served as a summer curatorial intern in textiles and historic interiors at Colonial Williamsburg. There, I studied textiles and wrote the furnishing plan and research report portraying the Peyton Randolph house as Comte de Rochambeau’s headquarters prior to the Siege of Yorktown.
These two internships, the four internships I completed as an undergrad, and my education aided me in receiving, and accepting, a job offer near the end of my internship at Colonial Williamsburg. I am currently the site manager at Mount Clare Museum House, the 1760s home of Charles Carroll, Barrister. B&O Railroad Museum operates it and the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America owns the collections. As the only employee at Mount Clare. I am the curator, volunteer and docent coordinator, researcher, educator, and administrator. Since I am the first person to focus solely on Mount Clare in five years, I have a fantastic opportunity to reimagine the museum.
Deborah Kallman (M.A., 2016), Director of Finance, Historic Deerfield (Deerfield, MA)
I have taken a somewhat non-traditional route to UMass. I returned to school following a career in the finance and accounting fields. Having spent much of my professional life in higher education financial administration, I recognize the transformative power of education. I was thrilled to pursue my personal dream of studying history. I was initially drawn to UMass because of its highly regarded Public History program. Public historians play an important role in making history and historical sites approachable to the general public. My own passion for history was ignited by visiting many of the historic sites in New England. Since my first visit to campus, I felt part of the UMass history community and I continue to be impressed not only with the UMass faculty and scholarship, but the vast resources that are available through the Five College Consortium. In addition to the field of Public History, I studied modern European history and Modern U.S. history.
I completed an internship at The Mount—Edith Wharton’s former residence in western Massachusetts. I applied what I learned in the classroom to the professional practice of public history and this internship further supported my interest in education as I wrote lesson units for two of The Mount’s onsite school programs and adapted a physical exhibit to an online format. This practicum reinforced my belief in the transformative power of education and that, indeed, education does not only occur in a formal classroom setting. After completing my MA I accepted a position as Business Manager at The Mount. Currently, I am the Director of Finance at Historic Deerfield.
In addition, I maintain research interests situated within the Progressive era and specifically to the study of a utopian farm in West Newbury, Massachusetts.
Kathleen Mahoney (M.A., 2016), Boston, MA
I completed my B.A. in History at Boston College in 2009 where my senior honors thesis looked at representations of black culture in Jazz Age France. I chose the UMass Public History program both for its academic rigor and for the opportunity to develop the professional skills necessary to do historical work outside of the classroom. As a Master’s student, I am completing coursework in archives while also continuing to pursue my interests in 20th century urban history and the history of American popular culture. With the support of the UMass Public History Program's Hyde Fellowship, in the summer of 2015 I was thrilled to gain firsthand experience doing archival work with internships with the WGBH Media Library and Archives and with the documentary filmmaker Errol Morris. Since finishing school, I spend my time playing music and volunteering at Girls Rock Camp Boston.
Chelsea Miller (M.A., 2016) | Editorial Assistant, SUNY Press (Albany, NY)
I completed a B.A. in History and Environmental Studies at Mount Holyoke College. As an undergraduate, I studied a combination of medieval history, environmental history, and art history. Eventually I realized I was interested in histories of things, how we make sense of old things, and how old things can simultaneously become art objects and historical artifacts.
My fields of interest included public humanities, U.S. history, and global history. I'm also interested in digital media, communications, and social justice. During the summer of 2015, I served as a graduate fellow at Hampshire College’s Institute for Curatorial Practice, where I led a curating team in creating an online art exhibition, titled BODY [IN/AS] LANDSCAPE. During the 2015-16 academic year, I completed an internship at the ICP developing an online exhibition of textiles in the Five College Museums’ collections, titled The Third Space: Textiles in Material and Visual Culture. I contributed content to a national exhibition titled States of Incarceration, which included video interviews, blog posts, and an exhibit panel on the history of incarceration in Massachusetts. In the final year of my graduate studies, I served as the 2015-16 Communications Assistant for the Department of History. In 2016, I began working as an Editorial Assistant at the State University of New York Press.
Sandra Perot (M.A. and Certificate in Public History 2008; Ph.D., 2016), educator, Bement School (Deerfield, MA)
I came to UMass Amherst for a Master's Degree in History because of the Public History program. The focus here on the importance of landscape and community allows public history students to visualize history and, more importantly, help the public visualize history as well. With an MA in English Literature and teaching from San Jose State University, and an AB in English from Princeton University, I spent several years teaching high school English and American Literature, though I've always incorporated a cultural approach to teaching literature. After becoming involved as a guide at the Emily Dickinson Museum here in Amherst, I wanted to discover what makes museums work and how to make them successful. Public History, for me, is the perfect blend of history, culture, and literature. Since then I have worked both at local museums and internationally. I spent a summer as an educational intern at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, UK; conducted an extensive inventory of material culture at The Evergreens, part of the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst; and worked both as a guide and as staff support at the Leiden American Pilgrim Museum in The Netherlands. Eventually I decided to stay at UMass for a PhD. My dissertation research examined transatlantic influences throughout the Anglophone world, particularly the way in which 17th- and 18th-century women in theater interacted with, experienced and examined their surroundings as they moved from place to place. Currently, I teach history and world geography at the Bement School in Deerfield, MA.
Julie Peterson (M.A., 2016), Independent Consultant (Denver, CO)
Julie Peterson's interest in public history arose during her undergraduate career while studying the built environment to understand how the actions of people throughout history have impacted the physical environment, the political landscape, and the cultural milieu of the United States, particularly in the post-war period. At UMass, she studied the twentieth-century United States as an empire, social justice issues—particularly the rise of the prison-industrial complex and mass incarceration—and the cultural and political interchange between the United States and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean. Throughout her study of public history, she seeks to find ways that museums and historic sites can encourage the public to think about the society we live in within a historical context, and through oral history, to tell the stories of those whose voices are typically silenced. During the summer of 2015, as a recipient of one of the UMass Public History program's Hyde Fellowships, Julie completed an internship at Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site in Philadelphia, PA. While there, she helped develop the award-winning Prisons Today: Questions in the Age of Mass Incarceration, an exhibit about the contemporary U.S. criminal justice system that opened in May 2016. Julie completed the MA in History with a Public History Certificate in May 2016, with her capstone research project, "Interpreting Incarceration: Penal Tourism at the Museum of Colorado Prisons." After graduation, she curated "The Carceral Commonwealth/ La mancomunidad carcelaria," an exhibit for UMass Amherst in collaboration with The New School’s States of Incarceration project, which opened in March 2017.
Julie works as a public history consultant in her home state of Colorado. She is currently researching and developing content for “Zoom In: The Centennial State in 100 Objects,” a new core exhibit at the History Colorado Center in Denver, CO. She recently completed a digital Story Map project for the Public Lands History Center at Colorado State University in Fort Collins about Native American history in Rocky Mountain National Park. Julie’s work—particularly in the area of public history and the carceral state—has been published in The Public Historian and Museums & Social Issues. Julie is also an active member of the National Council on Public History, and serves on the organization’s New Professional and Graduate Student Committee.
She invites fellow alumni, faculty, and current students to look her up if they find themselves out West! Feel free to peruse her website (juliegpeterson.com), reach out via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or follow her on Twitter: @juliegpeterson.
Natalie Sherif (M.A., 2016), Paralegal at Curran & Berger LLP Immigration Law Offices (Northampton MA)
When I was thirteen years old, I desperately wanted Abigail Chase’s job from National Treasure -- National Archives and Records Administration archivist by day, adventurous history hunter by night. Now that I am in UMass’ Public History program, I can say that my ambitions have shifted from the archives to the recording studio. At UMass, I studied oral history theory and methodology in the hopes of releasing my inner Studs Terkel and using the oral histories I and others conducted to inform my academic research.
As an undergraduate at Gettysburg College, I planted myself firmly in early American history by studying both Lenni Lenape acculturation into western culture and an 1859 Supreme Court Case, Ableman v. Booth, each on a separate occasion. While at Gettysburg, I also flirted with memory studies and did research on how Great War prisoners of war remember their war experience and did research on how one Holocaust survivor’s memoir confronted and justified her camp experience. My work with memory studies propelled me into the twenty-first century where I am currently studying LGBT and sexuality history in America and Britain. My graduate research examined domestic violence in queer relationships which will be a departure point for further study on the prevalence of violence within the LGBT community.
During the summer of 2015, I worked as a seasonal Park Ranger at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park where I led programs for middle school students on John Brown and leadership. I also participated in Harpers Ferry NHP’s Theatre in the Park program. Additionally, I completed my UMass summer practicum at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History (NMAH). At NMAH, I worked in the Division of Medicine and Science primarily writing object descriptions for an unaccessioned veterinary collection. As of February 2017 I serve as the social media editor for NOTCHES, a peer-reviewed blog on the history of sexuality.
When I am not studying history, I can be found wandering the streets of Northampton, going on a self-guided blueberry tour of the local farm stands (seasonally, of course), antiquing, walking my dog, Rain, reading P.G. Wodehouse, horseback riding, watching Netflix, or daydreaming about Scotland.
Rebecca Schmitt (M.A., 2015)
Throughout my life, I have always had a love of history as I grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin and later near Cape Girardeau, Missouri. However, it was not until I went to Southeast Missouri State University for my undergraduate work that I realized the vast array of employment opportunities within Public History and Preservation. While working on my BA in History and BS in Historic Preservation, I completed multiple skill-based projects such as architectural inventory surveys, National Register of Historic Places nominations, building conditions assessments, strategic plans, and traditional history research and historiographical essays. Along the way, I completed two internships at the Stars and Stripes Museum in Bloomfield, MO and the Lutheran Heritage Center and Museum in Altenburg, MO.
After graduating from Southeast in 2013, I came to UMass to pursue a Master’s Degree in History with a specialization in Public History and Historic Preservation. Within the program, I was able to complete projects such as a National Register of Historic Places nomination and an architectural walking tour for the Springfield Museums. In my coursework, I discovered new methods of investigating and interacting with the past, primarily through the study of memory, landscapes, and heritage tourism.
During the summer of 2014, I completed an amazing internship at the Maryland Historical Trust, the State Historic Preservation Office for Maryland. I worked within their easement program and updated inventory documentation on easement properties. This included photo-documentation, on-site building analysis and investigation, and archival research on the site’s history. My project covered a wide range of structures including a theater, railroad station, private homes, a boat, and even a lighthouse. It was an opportunity that helped me realize what career I would like to pursue, which would preferably be within a consulting firm or historic agency. In 2015 I accepted a position with the Michigan History Center, where I review applications for, and generally support, the historic markers program.
Kayla Pittman (M.A., 2015) | Director of Education and Programs, Historic Westville (Columbus, GA)
I have always been interested in a multidisciplinary approach to studying the past, however the further I advanced my degree it seemed the less wiggle room I had. I had bounced between universities during my undergraduate years, trying to find a way to combine by interests in Early America, Archaeology, and Museum Studies in a manner that made me a viable candidate in the job market. My senior thesis at the University of Oklahoma, “The Worlds of Monticello Mountain: How Space Reflected Power & Politics on an Eighteenth Century Plantation,” was written out of my experience attending the University of Virginia-Monticello Archaeological Field School. I analyzed Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello plantation in terms of what the organization of physical space can teach us about politics and power on an early national plantation.
I regularly crossed disciplinary boundaries putting history, archaeology, and anthropology in conversation with one another to produce a clearer, more vibrant understanding of the past. Without museums and historical sites, that not only preserve the past, but disseminate their findings to the public through online databases such as the Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery, my research would not have been possible.
I realized that the study of Public History would not only allow me to combine and hone my interests, but would also allow me to engage with the public in a manner that truly brings history alive. UMass Amherst’s Public History program allowed me to grow as a traditional historian while at the same time gain invaluable hands-on experience in the field. During my second year I developed an interest in blending the study of space and place in the Virginia Piedmont during the Early Republic with historic preservation and completed an internship at James Monroe's Ash-Lawn Highland. Upon graduation I accepted a position as curator of the Wethersfield (CT) Historical Society, and a year later became Director of Research and Interpretation there. In April 2017 I began my current postion at Historic Westville.
Emily Pipes (M.A., 2015) | Project Coordinator, Center for Education Policy Research, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA)
I graduated from the Commonwealth Honors College of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 2012 with a B.A. in History and minors in Classics and Spanish. I wrote my honors thesis on the civil rights activism of Young Women’s Christian Association during the era of McCarthy, more specifically: the divide within the organization caused by the fear of communism during recurrent red scares, the rift this tension caused within its membership, and the effect this division had on the organization’s activism. This project relied upon primary source materials found in the YWCA of the USA records at the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College, scholarship on the YWCA, the Cold War, mid-twentieth century women, and progressive movements. During my undergraduate career I also worked as an intern in the Special Collection and University archives, where I catalogued and created a finding aid for the George Millman Papers.
As a Master’s student at UMass Amherst I continued my study of 20th century US history with a focus on the intersection of race, gender/feminism and public policy. My primary focus within public history was public policy. I completed an internship at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) in Boston (summer 2014) and in Springfield (fall semester 2014). As an intern at the MCAD, I was able to hone my ability to historicize political problems by analyzing current social conditions and attempting to piece together the historical events which created modern-day society. Working at the MCAD revealed to me some of the many ways in which public policy, law and history are constantly in conversation with one another.
I currently work as a project coordinator for the Center for Education Policy Research (CEPR) at Harvard University. Through my work at CEPR, I am able to apply the research, writing and analytical thinking skills I developed at UMass to my daily responsibilities; which typically include conducting literature reviews; collecting and analyzing data; recruiting and interviewing subjects; and summarizing project results. I am excited by the opportunity to employ a historical perspective on contemporary policy analysis.
Emily Hunter (M.A., 2015), Syracuse, NY
Growing up in Cooperstown, NY, home to several museums and to the New York State Historical Association Library, I developed an appreciation for public history at a young age. Throughout my middle and high school years, I enjoyed working as a volunteer interpreter at The Farmers’ Museum, a living history museum which recreates life in an 1840s village. As a history major at the State University of New York at Oneonta, I began to focus my passion for public history on archives and special collections libraries. Through an internship at the New York State Historical Association Library and as an intern and researcher in the archives at my university’s Milne Library, I accessioned and created catalogues for archival materials, conducted oral history interviews, compiled materials for library publications, and participated in outreach programs which introduced the public to the archival holdings. For the last 2 years, I have served as a moderator at the Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture, an annual event hosted by the Baseball Hall of Fame.
I chose the public history program at UMass-Amherst because it allowed me to combine historical research and writing with the skills I need for my career in archive management. I was drawn to the program because of the rich archival resources available through the Five College Consortium and because of the professors whose areas of expertise link to my own research goals. At UMass, my research focused on women in the U.S. Progressive Era and first-wave feminism. After graduating from UMass I decided to continue my studies and I am currently pursuing a degree in Archival Studies at Syracuse University.
Katie Garland (M.A., 2015) | Fund Development Coordinator, Girl Scouts of America (Harrisburg, PA)
After a fantastic undergraduate experience in the History Department at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania and a summer at the Historic Deerfield Summer Fellowship Program in Early American Material Culture, deciding to pursue public history at UMass Amherst was an easy choice. I knew that the program would rigorously train me as a historian while also giving me the opportunity to learn more about public history by doing hands on projects with museums across the Pioneer Valley. As I worked through the MA program, I began to realize that while I felt good about my history knowledge and public history skills, I did not know a lot about nonprofit management. Therefore, I added an extra year onto my program by pursuing a certificate in arts management through the Arts Extension Service.
Matt Coletti (M.A., 2015) | Research Historian, History Associates (Rockville, MD)
Believe it or not, I recall my first visit as a toddler to one of the country’s stirring National Parks: Antietam National Battlefield. As my family and I strolled across the rolling hills of outside of Sharpsburg, Maryland, my imagination ran wild from the countless stories of the American Civil War that the Park Rangers recounted. That family trip planted the seed that blossomed into my boundless curiosity about United State history. Toward the end of my undergraduate studies at Washington College in 2012, I realized that I wanted to continue with my education, and become a professional historian working in the public sphere. My interests in historical memory began to form at this point, and I knew that I wanted to combine my American Civil War fascination with its resonance in contemporary, American society. Based on my experiences at the Park Service’s Civil War battlefields, I knew that a career with the Park Service was possible. The idea of how park staff compresses the national narrative to an intimate level for its visitors was something I admired and aspired to join. I was able to apply the knowledge I obtained from the public history faculty to the internship that I completed during the summer of 2014. I spent the better part of four months working with the staff at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park to design and interpret visitor programs that explored the complex connections between the town and the national events encompassing the Federalist Era, the Civil War, and Reconstruction. Following the completion of my internship with the National Park Service, I worked on an interpretive program that will enable park employees to educate visitors in the intimate relationship concerning Harpers Ferry and Reconstruction history. With my career hopes and academic interests in mind, I knew that the public history program at the University of Massachusetts offered an exceptional, educational opportunity, and a pathway to service with the National Parks. The program’s focus on memory studies as well as historic site interpretation fully prepared me for connecting local and national audiences with their history, and upon graduation I accepted a position with History Associates in Rockville, MD.
John Dickson (M.A., 2014) | Foreign Service Officer (Retired), U.S. Department of State (Pittsfield, MA)
During my two year public history master’s degree program, I was struck by the number of times that we heard the notion of public history entrepreneur. Six months after graduation, I find that that’s what best describes my current activities, opened up through the public history program.
Originally, I came to UMass to explore the connection between history and foreign relations, how history shapes our national identities and influences the way we conduct our interactions with other countries. Once on campus, though, it was hard not to take advantage of the broad range of opportunities available, leading to a broadly eclectic, rather than narrowly specialized course of study/research. From participation in the Guantanamo Public Memory Project exhibit, to an internship at Herman Melville’s home, Arrowhead; from a thesis on the preservation of the old Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield to preparation of a book proposal on history and foreign relations – all made for a full, active experience on campus.
Since graduating, I define my involvement by a series of discrete projects – support to a historic survey of North Adams, MA; teaching a class on history and foreign relations at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College; continuing to interpret at Arrowhead; completing an on-line tour of Pittsfield’s Mills (milltour.org) supporting Fulbright scholarship advising at UMass; completing a documentary on the preservation of the old Berkshire Athenaeum, and serving as the Chair of the Pittsfield Historical Commission.
Shuko Tamao (M.A., 2014) | Doctoral Student, University of Buffalo (Buffalo, NY)
I grew up in Hiroshima where there is little historical continuity in its landscape. The memory and the past were erased. I grew up in such a landscape and thought this absence of the memory; the detachment from the past was a universal experience. I did not want to believe it; I rebelled against it.
After working at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, I lived and travelled to various countries, hoping to absorb what lies beyond my initial life experience. I have worked and volunteered to hear the lives of my fellow neighbors through the lens of my camera, by the crumbling walls of abandoned buildings, across the counter at public libraries, and beyond the prison wall of rural Midwest. My passion started from engaging with my community and I have been supported by grateful neighbors and colleagues who have helped me pursue my intellectual journey.
I am interested in the development of the asylum in 19th and 20th century Massachusetts. I pay a close attention to the interaction between people and the built environment. My encounter of state hospital cemeteries was the crucial moment for the development of my academic interest. Why and how could people's identities be reduced to numbers? What were their life stories? What is madness? I became aware of those questions while writing my blog the Reversed View of Massachusetts where I document and gather the voices of forgotten and/or extraordinary people who I meet in everyday life. I hope that my training in public history can help me to continue telling "people's history."
During my Master's, I specialized in the history of the Psychiatric Survivors Movement as well as the Disability Rights Movement by processing the papers for a Boston based activist, Judi Chamberlin, at the UMass Special Collections and Universty Archives. As a PhD student at the University at Buffalo, I hope to continue my research into these subjects.
Jacob Orcutt (M.A., 2014) | Coordinator of Onsite Services, Connecticut’s Old State House (Hartford, CT)
Prior to attending UMass I earned a B.A. in History, Anthropology, and Archaeological Studies from SUNY Potsdam. While attending SUNY Potsdam I served on the school's Honors Council and held positions in several student organizations, and was fortunate to have an opportunity to participate in an archaeological excavation in Menorca, Spain through the Ecomuseo de Cavalleria and the Sanisera Institute. Additionally, it was at SUNY Potsdam that I developed a passion for historical research in the fields of Early American and Indigenous history.
I fell into Public History rather by accident. Before applying to the University of Massachusetts for my M.A. program I had very little knowledge of Public History. The strength of the Public History program at UMass, as well as its evident practical applications both in and outside of academia, drove me to pursue a concentration in Museum Studies. My professors at UMass helped me to further develop my skills in research, writing, and finding practical applications for the "historian's toolkit." Additionally, my experience at UMass allowed me to construct a solid foundation in Indigenous studies to build upon as I progressed in the field. This culminated in my thesis, "Mishoonash in Southern New England: Construction and Use of Dugout Canoes in a Multicultural Context, " in which I examined the long history of dugout canoes in southern Connecticut and their interpretation in New England's museums.
My experience at UMass also allowed me to participate in a number of projects and professional development experiences. Along with two other students in my "Indigenous Peoples in Public History" course, I curated and interpreted mock text panels for a potential exhibit on Kahnawa:ke Mohawk culture. I participated in group projects with the South Deerfield Historical Commission to create an inventory of Sugarloaf Street Cemetery and Historic Deerfield to develop a series of walking tours for the museum. I was also a summer intern in collections for the Institute for American Indian Studies in Washington, Conn. Upon graduation I accepted a position as Coordinator of Onsite Services, Connecticut's Old State House, CT.
Jill Dwiggins (2013) | Production Editor, Oxford University Press (Cary, NC)
Before attending UMass I received my B.A. in English from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2010 (minors, Environmental Studies and Music). During these years I interned in Dublin, Ireland and Concord, MA and completed an undergraduate thesis on sound and silence in the writing of Henry David Thoreau.
At UMass-Amherst, I tailored a dual track in Museums and Writing within my Public History curriculum. As parts of my course field work I created a research package for the Guantanamo Bay Public Memory Project and a walking tour for Historic Deerfield, Inc. In summer 2012 I interned at the Concord Museum, and continued to work remotely for the museum through spring 2013. I interpreted the exhibit floors of the museum for visitors, helped research and propose manuscripts and artifacts for the 2013 exhibit Early Spring: Henry Thoreau and Climate Change, and wrote and designed a mobile app introducing visitors to Thoreau.
Public History theory and perspectives also informed my Master's thesis ("Henry Thoreau's Debt to Society: A Micro Literary History") and master's fields in (1.) Early U.S. American Intellectual and Literary History and (2.) Modern Ireland.
After leaving UMass, I was offered a grant-funded position at The Emily Dickinson Museum. I worked in two areas of this literary house museum: the education department, coordinating an NEH workshop on teaching Emily Dickinson in the classroom, and the curatorial department, developing the museum’s collection of Dickinson family library editions. From 2013 to 2015, I served as a junior editor for The Massachusetts Review. As of November 2016 I am a Production Editor for Oxford University Press.
Jonathan Haeber (2013) | Field Services Director, California Preservation Foundation (San Francisco, CA)
My deep interest in place-based history began with a landscape architecture course and a subsequent internship with National Geographic in 2003. Upon receiving English and Geography degrees from UC Berkeley in 2004, I joined the working world as a Managing Editor for a talented group of freelance marketing writers. In my free time, I moonlighted as a freelancer and quasi-historian - nights at San Francisco State University gaining an academic background, weekends volunteering at historic sites in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. In 2011, our volunteer group of 11 received the George and Helen Hartzog Volunteer Group Award by the National Park Service.
In 2011, I published my first book, Grossinger's: City of Refuge and Illusion, which explored the unique microcosm of a Catskills resort in the early 20th century. History has also inspired my photography: Richard Nickel, Edward Burtynsky, and New Topographics have played a significant role. Occasionally, these photos appear on my website.
At UMass, I focused on historic preservation and was especially active in the city of Holyoke. As part of an internship at Wistariahurst Museum I developed a digital tour, available in English and Spanish, of almost 100 civic, industrial and commercial sites. The project was recognized with an award from the city of Holyoke in April 2013.
I feel privileged to have been part of the UMass Public History program, which is ideally located for my interest in 20th-century American History, particularly the landscapes of consumption in the early 20th century.
In October 2013, I accepted a position titled Field Services Director with the California Preservation Foundation. CPF is California's only statewide historic preservation nonprofit. My job involves growing the Education initiatives for the foundation and expanding its public programs. I also help connect local preservationists and organizations with the resources and knowledge that will enable them to protect their landmarks. I manage their monthly workshops and webinars, both of which provide continuing education credits for architects and planners statewide.
Lyzann Harlow (2006; 2013),
Lyzann came to the study of Public History from the department of Anthropology. Her formal internship requirement was spent as the Jeanine Rioux Intern for The Trustees of Reservations, though Lyzann later completed curatorial internships at the Berkshire Museum and Strawbery Banke Museum as well. Her dissertation, "Mind the gap: Materiality of gendered landscapes in Deerfield, Massachusetts, ca. 1870--ca. 1920," explored the word of a community of historic preservation activists in Deerfield, Massachusetts, investigating not only the forces that shaped their work but the forces that contributed to their marginalization in the early twentieth century. Lyzann has served as the Field Director of the Summer Field School in Archaeology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst; she also works as a historian and artifact analyst at Archaeological Services.
Jaimie Kicklighter (2013) | Library Technical Specialist, Auburn University Special Collections and Archives (Auburn, AL)
I came to the UMass Public History Program all the way from Valdosta, Georgia. As a history major at Valdosta State University, I wrote an honors thesis examining the role of nostalgia in modern German film. This project introduced me to the powerful role of memory and its function in engaging the past from a present perspective. In the course of the project I also discovered the DEFA Film Library on the UMass campus and grew curious about the history program here. My interest in the field of public history grew when I began volunteering at the Valdosta State campus archives and got experience in digitization and display preparation.
Since graduating from UMass Amherst, I have taken a job as Library Technical Specialist at Auburn University Special Collections and Archives in Auburn, Alabama. My job duties consist primarily of processing archival collections, creating finding aids, digitizing historically valuable collections, and assisting patrons with reference inquiries. In addition to working full time I am pursuing my Master of Library and Information Science degree online with a focus on technology and archives. In the future I hope to combine these skills with my public history background to curate digital collections of digitized analog as well as born digital material while continuing to preserve these items.
My interests in German history, education, archives, and film have followed me since my departure from UMass. I am keeping current on German history and the world of archives and helping with a local project to make census data pertaining to slavery in the state of Georgia available to researchers. In the near future I hope to pursue another degree in education or library science, or apply to get my PhD in History focusing on modern German history, specifically the rise, collapse, and eventual rebirth of the political left in the twentieth century.
Sarah Marrs (2013) | Manager of Individual Giving at Children's Theatre Company (Minneapolis, MN)
My interest in museums has roots in a childhood filled with family vacations to historic sites, national and state parks, and museums. The summer before my junior year at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, I began working at the Titanic exhibit for the Science Museum of Minnesota. This experience solidified my decision to pursue a career in museums. Later that year I worked as an exhibit design intern for the Northfield Historical Society. I researched, wrote, fabricated, and installed an exhibit on the Carnegie Library in Northfield, MN. That summer I interned for the Washington County Historical Society, where I worked at the Warden's House Museum, giving tours and developing a coloring book designed to teach fourth graders about local history. As a senior, I worked with the Northfield History Collaborative, a project that helped community partners to collect and digitize local history in a single online database.
I came to UMass because I wanted to study traditional history as well as public history, and this program offered me the opportunity to do both. While here, I studied the sectional conflict in nineteenth-century America, a long-standing interest of mine, but I was also able to explore other interests, such as sense of place. I also had the opportunity to work on an oral history project for the Music Department. In the summer of 2012, I worked as an intern in Development at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, focusing on their use of social media. After graduation I accepted a position with Historic Deerfield's Summer Fellowship Program, and later joined the staff of the Development Department. In 2015 I returned to Minnesota, and accepted a position as Annual Fund Coordinator for the Children's Theater Company in Minnepaolis. Today I serve as the Manager of Invidual Giving for that organization.
Rusty Annis (2012) | Recording Engineer, Oral Historian, History Teacher (Belchertown, MA)
The Owner/Engineer of Shoestring Studio since 1982, Rusty returned to graduate school in 2008, completing degrees in History/Public History and Education. Applying decades of experience as a recording engineer, Rusty focused his studies on oral history. Over the course of his graduate work he contributed to oral histories of the UMass Music Department, and completed an internship digitizing materials for UMass Special Collections and Archives. In April 2014, as a part of the UMass Music Department's celebration of its 75th Anniversary, Rusty unveiled the video "University of Massachusetts UMass Music Department: A Beginning," showing selected excerpts from 35 interviews conducted by UMass History students over the last 4 years.
Katherine Davis (2012)
Katherine Davis--an independent consultant who worked for museums in fundraising and audience development--pursued the certificate in Public History while a student in the Architecture + Design MA degree in Historic Preservation. Along the way she completed an internship with the Cheshire County (Keene, New Hampshire) Historical Society in which she developed experience in exhibition development, planning and mounting an exhibition on historic taverns. She spent time as an intern at Chesterwood, the Stockbridge, Massachusetts, home of sculptor Daniel Chester French. In October 2013 she became director of the Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation.
Erik Ingmundsun (2012) | Director of Interpretation, Mystic Seaport (Mystic, CT)
I majored in American Studies at Wheaton College. During my senior year, I struggled to formulate a plan for life after graduation. Everything changed when I attended a non-profit job fair in the spring of 2006. A representative from the Nantucket Historical Association was there, recruiting historic interpreters to work for the upcoming season. On a whim, I decided to apply for the position. I had never worked at a museum or historic site before. However, I had experience in the performing arts, had studied history academically, and thought that leading interpretive tours (and living on Nantucket no less!) would be an interesting experience.
I was hired, and spent the summer leading tours at the Whaling Museum and several other historic properties. Towards the end of the summer, I was offered a permanent position as Senior Interpreter and Schools Coordinator. This proved to be an amazing opportunity, as it introduced me to the field of historic administration. I managed a staff of 35 interpreters, developed educational programs, recruited new staff, and managed the daily operations of several historic properties, including the Whaling Museum. I loved the job, and stayed for the next four years before coming to UMass.
The UMass Public History Program was a perfect fit, because it allowed me to study twentieth-century American history (particularly the Cold War), while also doing coursework that helped prepare me for a career in historic administration. There is a great emphasis on learning both in and outside of the classroom, and a welcoming atmosphere that encourages collaboration among students.
In 2011, I collaborated with two colleagues to produce an exhibit titled "Becoming a Son of Great Barrington: W.E.B. Du Bois." The exhibit was displayed in the lobby of the Triplex Cinema in Great Barrington until the spring of 2013. In the summer of 2011, I was an intern for the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. I'll be working with the Curator of History and Research to help develop future exhibitions.
From 2013 to 2016 I worked as Supervisor of Interpretation at the Mystic Seaport Museum where I hired, trained, and evaluated the job performance of a portion of their guide staff. I also worked developing some new initiatives to evaluate and improve the visitor experience, and make exhibits more accessible and visitor-friendly. As of October 2016 I am the Director of Interpretation at Mystic Seaport.
Emily Oswald (2012) | Ph.D. Candidate, University of Oslo (Norway)
I have pursued my interest in museums, history, and the history of museums through a research fellowship at the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren, Belgium. More recently, I worked as a grant writer for the educational non-profit Facing History and Ourselves. My research interests include slavery in the United States before the Civil War and European colonialism in Africa, as well as the way contemporary Americans address, or choose not to address, the history of slavery. Museums and their histories continue to pique my curiosity.
During the first year of the program, I and two colleagues produced the exhibit "Becoming a Son of Great Barrington: W.E.B. Du Bois." The exhibit is currently on display in the lobby of the Triplex Cinema in Great Barrington. In summer 2011, I interned with Richard Rabinowitz at the American History Workshop, and was awarded an ETHIR Fellowship from the UMass Amherst Special Collections and University Archives. I also created the exhibit "Come to Our Table: Twenty-Five Years of Research and Community Engagement at the University of Massachusetts Amherst" which was on display at the September 2011 conference celebrating the Public History Program's twenty-fifth anniversary.
After graduation I worked for Harvard University, supporting the Ford Fellowship program, and later the Trustees of Reservations, where I was the Digital Archives Assistant in the Library and Research Center. In 2014 I moved to Oslo, Norway, where I joined the staff of the University of Oslo. In February 2016, I joined the Norwegian Research Council-funded project, MEDIASCAPES: Innovation in Knowledge and Mediation Practices as a PhD candidate. I’m based in the Mediate Research Group at the Department of Education, University of Oslo.
Stephania Villar (2012) | Marketing Specialist, Balboa Park Cultural Partnership (San Diego, CA)
Stephania Villar received her B.A. in History from Pitzer College in California. At UMass, her academic interests were numerous, but her chosen fields were in Spanish Borderlands, World History, public memory, and perceptions of history. In the spring of 2011, she conducted a semester long project for the Skinner Museum in South Hadley, Massachusetts, where she and two other grad students helped create a Civil War exhibit which will remain on display throughout the sesquicentennial anniversary of the conflict. In the summer of 2011, Stephania interned at the Museo Casa Carlos Gardel in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
After graduating from the UMass Public History program, Stephania accepted a position with the San Diego Air and Space Museum as an Assistant Archivist of Special Collections, where she processing Special Collections for digitization, developing finding guides for greater public access, and raising awareness of the collections through social media. In 2015, Stephania became the Marking Specialist for the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership.
Elizabeth Bradley (2012) | Program Coordinator, Emily Dickinson Museum (Amherst, MA)
Elizabeth Bradley received her B.A. from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana in History and English. At UMass, her academic interests were in U.S. religious history; folklore; American regional identities; and the intersections of public history and community activism.
Upon graduation from the public history program, Elizabeth accepted a position as School Programs Educator at Wave Hill in the Bronx. There, she worked with the Environmental Educator and the Forest Project Manager on creating and delivering programming for Pre-K to high school kids. In March 2017, she joined the staff of the Emily Dickinson Museum, where she develops public programs for the public as well as K-12 audiences.
Jessica Frankenfield (2012) | Programs & Communications Associate, American Philosophical Society (Philadelphia, PA)
Before attending UMass, I completed my B.A. in History at Temple University and held jobs or internships at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, the Newberry Library, the Powel House in Philadelphia, the Montgomery County Historical Society (PA), and the Pearl S. Buck House.
My field work at UMass included a web exhibit on Omeka about the Second Pan-African Congress, which made use of the University Special Collections and Archives' valuable holdings in the W.E.B. Du Bois papers, as well as exhibit panels for an activity in the History Workshop at Historic Deerfield on local silkworm cultivation in the 19th Century. In summer 2011, I was awarded the Elizabeth Perkins Fellowship in Museum Practice and Research at Museum of Old York in Maine. While working at Old York, I cataloged and created a finding aid for a recently donated collection, held in the museum's archives. I also assisted with research inquiries in the library.
After graduation, I worked in UMass Amherst IT as a communications coordinator, writing for the website and planning events.
I have since translated my training in public history and communications into a position as the Programs and Communications Associate at the American Philosophical Society. I am responsible for the Society's social media presence, other communications including the monthly e-newsletter and press releases, and coordinate adult public programs.
Jessie MacLeod (2012) | Assistant Curator, Historic Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens (Mount Vernon, VA)
I first became interested in museums when I spent the summer after my freshman year of college working in the Furniture Study of the Yale University Art Gallery. I was already planning to be a history major, but I added material culture to my list of interests, taking several classes on American architecture and decorative arts and spending a summer as a Summer Fellow at Historic Deerfield. I also developed my love for archival research and writing while completing my senior essay on nineteenth-century American missionary children who were sent back to the U.S. to live, based on a collection of family papers at the Yale Divinity School Archives.
After graduating, I knew I wanted to continue doing history. I spent a year working at the New Haven Museum and Historical Society creating an online guide to their library's manuscript and photograph collections, as well as digitizing a large portion of their collections. I then moved down to Virginia to work as a researcher at Montpelier, the home of James and Dolley Madison, which is undergoing a massive restoration and refurnishing project. In these positions I gained valuable exposure to the world of archives and museums, seeing the challenges and excitement of the field firsthand. I discovered that I still love the process of historical research and finding ways to make history more accessible to the general public.
I chose UMass because I am interested in both traditional academic history and public history, and this program provides excellent opportunities in both areas. During the first year of the program, my field work included a women's history audio walking tour of the UMass campus for the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians and an exhibit on Elizabeth Freeman, a formerly enslaved woman whose 1781 freedom suit effectively ended slavery in Massachusetts. In the summer of 2011, I interned at the Newport Historical Society, giving walking tours and curating an exhibit on samplers.
Upon graduation I accepted a position as assistant curator George Washington's Mount Vernon, where I am researching the Washingtons' furnishings, developing exhibitions for our museum, coordinating the conservation and acquisition of eighteenth-century prints, assuming the persona of a room on Twitter (>@MVNewRoom), and performing a multitude of other tasks related to Mount Vernon's collection.
John Morton (2012) | Ph.D. Candidate, Boston College (Boston, MA)
I came to UMass to study early American history, and found that the study of Public History and the study of early American history worked very well together. I had already done some museum work years ago at the Astors' Beechwood Mansion in Newport, Rhode Island, and I found myself eager to do more. I also have an ongoing fascination with popular history, and the ways that the general public learns about history through theater, television, and the movies.
While studying at UMass I was involved in several different projects. In the spring of 2011, I collaborated with two colleagues to write a permanent exhibit for the Trustees of Reservations. This exhibit, which opened in August 2011 at the Ashley House in Sheffield, is on Elizabeth Freeman, an enslaved woman from Massachusetts who won her freedom in court. During the summer of 2011, I led a program at the William Cullen Bryant Homestead in Cummington, Massachusetts, in which local teenagers studied historic interpretation and then wrote a new landscape tour for the site. In the late spring and summer of 2012, I assisted in piloting a program called "Artifact Stories" in the Amherst area. During this program my partner and I took artifacts from the Amherst History Museum to several local senior centers and assisted living facilities. There, we gave the seniors a chance to learn about and examine the artifacts, and then asked them to reflect on what sorts of ideas or memories the artifacts brought up for them.
I am currently at Boston College as a PhD candidate in the History Department.
Richard Anderson (2011) Ph.D. Candidate, Princeton University (Princeton, NJ)
Before matriculating at UMass Amherst I received a bachelor's degree in history from Northeastern Illinois University and a master's degree in journalism from the University of Illinois. I decided to pursue a degree in public history because the field provided the best opportunity to combine my training in journalism, my passion for historical scholarship, and my commitment to community engagement. The UMass Amherst certificate program offered me the flexibility to follow all of these interests. I completed the oral history track, taking courses in oral history theory and method, as well as an ethnography course in the anthropology department. As part of the track, I conducted an oral history-based study of a former commune in nearby Franklin County. I also interned with the Samuel Harrison Society in Pittsfield and worked as the public history program assistant. In addition to completing my public history coursework, I enjoyed the freedom to write a master's thesis on conservative Christianity in postwar American suburbs.
I have continued studying American urban history as a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University. My foundation in public history has greatly enriched my doctoral studies. Public history informs everything from the questions I ask to the way I write. In 2012 I co-founded the Princeton Public History Initiative-a working group of graduate students and faculty dedicated to incorporating public history into the life of Princeton's history department. The contacts I cultivated at UMass have proved invaluable to me in developing the Initiative, seeking guest speakers, and securing partnerships in the region. Furthermore, one of our faculty advisors-Prof. Marni Sandweiss-served as an affiliated member of the UMass public history faculty while teaching at Amherst College. In addition to coordinating the Public History Initiative, I serve on the Graduate Student and New Professional Committee of the National Council on Public History and contribute to the NCPH blog, History@Work.
Kayla Haveles Hopper (2011) | Outreach Coordinator, American Antiquarian Society (Worcester, MA)
I entered the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA trying to decide between a major in either History or English. I chose History, but always kept English close. The intertwining of these two components became the basis for my undergraduate thesis, where I examined the role the written word played in the development of the political consciousness of Northern women during the Civil War. Upon graduation I wanted to maintain a focus in history, and an internship at Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke, MA the summer before my senior year opened my eyes to all the opportunities museums offer to involve the public, from education and community outreach programs, to archives, to exhibits.
While looking for grad schools, I stumbled upon a program called Public History that actually focused on areas such as writing for all audiences and museum studies. The decision to apply to the well-established Public History program at UMass was an easy one. Here I could study the synthesis of history, literature, and culture that I found so fascinating, and learn more about how I can bring history to the public in an educational, engaging, and relevant way.
I now work as the Outreach Coordinator at the American Antiquarian Society and contribute to the AAS Blog, Past is Present.
Morgan Hubbard (2011) | Account Manager, BookBub (Providence, RI)
During his time at UMass Morgan created the award-winning web exhibit, "Uncertain Futures: Early Science Fiction in Cold War America" as a part of his summer internship with the UMass Special Collections and University Archives. His exhibit, focusing on science fiction in the 1950s, won the National Council on Public History Student Project Award for 2011. "This award is given to an outstanding public history student project initiated as academic coursework and implemented and recognized beyond the classroom for its contribution to the field of public history."
To view Morgan's exhibit please click on the following link: Uncertain Futures :: Early Sci Fi
Jennifer Kleinman (2011) | Academic Advisor for Student Athletes, Lesley University (Cambridge, MA)
The Public History program was recommended to me by an undergraduate adviser as an option to explore my interests in museum exhibitions, archaeology, and education. While at UMass, my focus shifted from museum education to public education and I studied public and education policy as my track within the Public History program. Combined with fields in U.S. imperialism and U.S. immigration, my time at UMass centered on understanding how U.S. history has been taught and how it shapes national memory and our concepts of American identities.
Jessica (Monti) Wall (2011) | Purchasing Coordinator, Finance Administration and Human Resources Department for Residential Life, UMass Amherst (Amherst, MA)
I graduated with a BA in Economics and History from UMass Amherst and thought that I was heading into the business world. However, I felt as if I was traveling down the wrong path so one month after graduation, I began working at UMass as full-time staff. I knew that if I strayed far from the university setting, I might not return. One day, while considering my options that included finding a master’s program or settling down in among the ranks of full-timers, I stumbled on the Public History web site. It seemed to me that I found a program that matched my interests and personality. After graduation in 2011, I went to work for UMass as the Purchasing Coordinator in the Finance Administration and Human Resources Department for Residential Life.
Margo Shea (2010) | Assistant Professor, Salem State University (Salem, MA)
When I graduated from college, I wanted to change the world. I directed a program that provided housing for people with HIV and AIDS and worked to find creative funding solutions for nonprofit affordable housing for several years in central Connecticut. A passion for education and community engagement led me to become involved in service-learning and campus community partnerships. While working as service-learning coordinator at Berkshire Community College, I began taking courses in the UMass Public History program in 2002. It was fun, stimulating and challenging; the faculty were (and are) interesting and engaged scholars and public history practitioners. I ultimately entered the program full time with the intention of working on New England histories of deindustrialization. Fate had a different agenda and I found myself in Northern Ireland, a place that has been important to me for many years, documenting memorial landscapes as a Public History intern. When I finished my M.A., I decided to pursue a doctoral degree, exploring Irish history, urban history and the study of memory and historical consciousness. I got to spend a lot of time in the complicated and wonderful city of Derry, Northern Ireland, which was the subject of my dissertation, “Once Again It Happens: Collective Remembrance and Irish Identity in Catholic Derry, Northern Ireland 1896-2008.” After completing my degree, I accepted a position teaching public history at Salem State University. From July 2015 - August 2017 I was on leave from Salem State University completing a Mellon Fellowship at the COllaborative for Southern Appalachian and Place-Based Studies at Sewanee - University of the South to develop the Places Project.
Bill Allen (2009) | Archaeological Collections Manager, University of Alabama Museums, Office of Archaeological Research (Moundville, AL)
Upon completion of the Public History program, I worked as Collections Technician for the Maine Historical Society, cataloging and assessing the Central Maine Power Company collection. CMP, which maintained its own museum until a recent corporate merger, donated the collection to MHS in 2002. The collection contains a little bit of everything relating to the development of the electrical power industry in Maine (and in general) during the 20th century, from a full hydro-electric generator, to early electric consumer goods such as washing machines and toasters, to meters and transmission-line equipment, to objects and ephemera relating to the internal life of the company. My job was to perform an object-level inventory, update the MHS databases, and assess the condition context of the objects with an eye towards consolidating this extensive and technical collection and shaping it to fit more fully within the Maine Historical Society's interpretive scheme.
In November of 2012, I accepted a position with the University of Alabama Museums and its Office of Archaeological Research.
Lori (Satter) Birrell (2009) | Head of Special Collections at Unversity of Arkansas (Fayetteville, Arkansas)
During my two years in the Public History program at UMass, I was able to combine my interest in history with archival work. The program offered me incredible flexibility to explore topics in library science through internships and coursework. These opportunities gave me real world experience in archives and museums, which later prepared me to enter the job market.
After earning my degree, I enrolled in a Masters of Library Science program at Simmons College, with an archives concentration. During my last semester, I interviewed and was the successful candidate for the Historical Manuscripts Librarian position at the River Campus Libraries at the University of Rochester.
Since 2011, I have filled that role and curate 19th and 20th century American history and local history manuscript, and related print collections. I also participate in the department’s outreach and instruction effort to connect our collections with the university’s curriculum. I have served as the Project Manager for the Post Family Papers Digitization Project (rbsc.library.rochester.edu) that seeks to digitize and transcribe over 2,000 letters from a Rochester family in the 19th century.
My time at UMass impressed upon me the importance of professional engagement, and I have since become a member of the Society of American Archivists, and the Mid Atlantic Regional Archives Conference, and have taken on leadership roles in both organizations.
My interests continue to evolve, and in 2017 I will complete an Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration. I’ve found it’s incredibly important to consider the wider landscape of libraries, and my coursework and research have afforded me that opportunity.
Niki Lefebvre (2009) | Morton L. Mandel Presdential Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Science (Boston, MA)
As an undergraduate I spent my summers at Boston National Historical Park interpreting the Battle of Bunker Hill and giving tours on the U.S.S. Cassin Young, a WWII destroyer. It was a powerful experience. I was fascinated by the way in which visitors could sometimes really connect to the history of a place. When I graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 2005 I knew I wanted to work in the field of history, but I also wanted my work to have a broad, positive impact. I began working at a non-profit that promoted the study of history among high school students, but found myself drawn back to interpreting historic sites on the weekends. Like the visitors I met at Boston National Historical Park, I too valued a connection to historic places. I chose the Public History Program at UMass Amherst because of its versatility, its balance between academics and practical skills, and the opportunity it presents to explore what public history means.
In 2016, I completed my PhD in American Studies at Boston University where my dissertation topic was "Filene's on Washington Street: Modernity, Culture, and Commercial Amusement, 1800-1940." Today I am the Morton L. Mandel Presidential Fellow at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Na Li (Lina) (2009) | Zhejiang University, China
Na Li (known as Lina to her UMass community) joined the Public History program while a student in the Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning program. In fall 2010, her article "Urban Landscapes as Public History: The Chinese Context" appeared in The Public Historian (pp 51-61). Her 2011 dissertation "Preserving Urban Landscapes as Public History: A Qualitative Study of Kensington Market, Toronto" "incorporates collective memory as an essential construct in urban landscapes, and suggests a culturally sensitive narrative approach" to the intangible values of built environments. After graduation, Lina was affiliated with the Center for Oral History and Digital Storytelling at Concordia University; later, in her role at Chongqing University (as Assistant Professor/Research Fellow at the The Institute for Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences) and now Zhejiang University (where she is founding editor of the journal Public History), she is working to introduce Public History practice to China.
Stephanie Pasternak (2009) | (Northampton, MA)
My interest in community history began during my years as an ESL teacher in a public high school in Boston where I worked with immigrant students on community oral history projects and adapted the Facing History and Ourselves curriculum to address student needs. My work with the grassroots women's oral history project, the Vally Women's History Collaborative, as well as the historical commission in Cummington, Massachusetts raised questions about the role of the professional historian as an insider or outsider of a community as well as the impact of the ethnoculural background of the community and historian has on the process and outcome of a project. In September 2003, together with my fellow graduate student Margo Shea (2010 alumna) and program director Marla Miller, I presented the results of some sustained thinking on these and related issues, cultivated in a directed readings course on community and local history, to the national meeting of the American Association for State and Local History in Providence, Rhode Island. In summer 2005 I served as a panelist at a Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities conference on writing local history, "Outside the Textbook: Writing History for Everyone," discussing my effort to write a scholarly but accessible narrative of notable moments in the history of Cummington, Massachusetts.
Click to view Stephanie's master's thesis, "A New Vision of Local History Narrative: Writing History in Cummington, Massachusetts".
Kate Preissler (2009) | Director, Wistariahurst Museum (Holyoke, MA)
While at UMass, I discovered my love of Cultural Landscapes. I became fascinated by how physical place influences individuals and communities and how people can leave an imprint on the places they have occupied. I am currently putting all of my learning into practice as Director of Wistariahurst in Holyoke. We work to preserve and share the history of our community, using stories of the past to inspire and energize the future.
Mona Minor (2008) (Bernardston, MA)
I graduated magna cum laude from Smith College with a B.A. in psychology. While at Smith I studied human identity and the influence of social milieus on individual development, personality, and decision making. In my graduate studies I continued to explore identity as it is situated within historical contexts, focusing on women and children in colonial and early America. I studied the influence of collective memory on identity through coursework and research on Holocaust memorials, Civil War and World War II reenactors, and flashbulb memories of public events like the Kennedy assassination and 9/11. Most recently, I have immersed myself in the study of material culture, examining how individuals and societies have used objects and possessions as tools to shape identity. I am presently researching and writing a book about the social construction of clutter, combining my interest in psychology and history with my passion for flea markets, creative writing, and domestic spaces.
Jeffrey Mish (2008) (Hadley, MA)
I am interested in the documentary film aspect of Public History, as well as looking at local/community history pertaining to ethnic islands of various immigrant groups residing within the United States. In this respect, my primary focus at UMass was studying men and women who came from the partitioned lands of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the late 1800s and early 1900s, such as Ukrainians, Lithuanians, Poles and Belarusians. I have also been intensely interested in the Polonization of Lithuanians, Ukrainians and Belarusians both within the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Hadley, Massachusetts, area, which includes Amherst (I grew up in Hadley, which is right next to Amherst). The topic of Polonization of the Eastern Europeans in the Hadley, Massachusetts, area was the subject of my undergraduate thesis at Franklin Pierce College in Rindge, New Hampshire, where I graduated Summa Cum Laude in May 2006 with a B.A in Anthropology; a minor in History; and a certificate in Global Citizenship. I have since completed a four-hour documentary film chronicling the history of the Eastern European population of Hadley and how it changed over time, which aired on the local Hadley television station.
John Diffley (2007) | Assistant Professor of History, Springfield Technical Community College (Springfield, MA)
I first became interested in public history as an undergraduate at SUNY New Paltz where I worked with the town historian in the production of a community history. My studies here at UMASS led to explorations of museum and historic site interpretation, historic preservation, and museum ethics. While at UMASS I worked on several public history projects, including the creation of a virtual exhibit examining the boyhood home site of W.E.B. Du Bois (now part of the W.E.B. Du Bois Library and Special Collections website at www.library.umass.edu/spcoll/duboishome/index.htm). In summer 2006 I completed my internship at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum in Manhattan, contributing to one of the museums newest projects, the recreation of a nineteenth-century German Saloon. In my last semesters I worked as a consultant toward the creation of an exhibit for a private company in Holyoke, Massachusetts, a relationship that has continued even as I completed my degree in spring 2007. I then became involved in museum-K12 partnerships, as a staff member at Springfield Technical Community College. After graduation, I completed a law degree at the Western New England University School of Law. Today I am an associate professor of History at Springfield Technical Community College.
Kathleen Flynn Neumann (2007) | Manager of School and Interpretive Programs, Maine Historical Society (Portland, MA)
I first fell in love with the idea of working in public history when I began working at the Adams National Historical Park in Quincy, MA my first summer out of high school. I worked there for five years as a tour guide and historic interpretor, and I loved sharing history with the public and meeting people from all over the world. I also spent a summer giving ghost story tours in Plymouth, MA, which was really neat! In the summer of 2006, after my first year in the public history program, I completed an internship at Historic Deerfield working as the assistant tutor to the Summer Fellows. At Historic Deerfield, I assisted the Curator of Academic Programs with the design and implementation of the curriculum and activities of the summer program, and I helped the students with their individual research projects. I was also thrilled to develop for Historic Deerfield a project of my own: tour enhancements - including a possible audio tour - to the self-guided tour at the Stebbins House. I have always been intrigued by the way the public approaches history; what brings them to historic places, what are they looking for, what do they expect to learn and what do they want to take away? I returned to UMASS after spending four years there as an undergrad, because I knew the university boasted a strong program where I could learn more about how to better present history to the public in museums, historic homes, and at historic sites. I graduated with an MA in History and a certificate in Public History from UMASS in 2005. As an undergrad, I had been trained to be a history teacher, and soon after earning my MA I was offered a job teaching 7th grade Social Studies in Walpole, MA. I was so excited to take what I learned at UMASS to my career as a teacher. Recently, I accepted a position with the Maine Historical Society as Manager of School and Interpretive Programs. I hope to be able to excite students about history by using museums and also to teach them how to use museums themselves as educational tools.
Claire Blaylock (2007) | Executive Director at Architecture Foundation of Oregon
I graduated from the College of Wooster in the spring of 2005, and came to UMass that fall. During my time at UMass I interned for the Massachusetts-based Trustees of Reservations (see www.thetrustees.org/pages/324_mission_house.cfm), and served as a guide at three of their historic properties in western Massachusetts (the Folly at Field Farm, the Mission House in Stockbridge, and Naumkeag, the 1880s Choate estate) and also (building on experience with audio tours developed during a course-based field service project for the Emily Dickinson Museum) compiled a script for an audio tour for one of the properties. I also gained skills using GIS as a research tool through coursework at Mount Holyoke College.
Immediately following graduation I moved to Washington D.C. where I was privileged to work for the Smithsonian in both a paid and volunteer capacity. In 2008 I started work with History Associates, Incorporated. I served as a consultant and collections specialist on several large projects. In 2011 I stepped back from the museum field to work in the nonprofit sector. For two years I worked as the Operations Administrator and later the Executive Director of HALT, an organization of Americans for Legal Reform. In 2014 my family relocated to Clackamas County, just outside of Portland, Oregon. In March of 2015 I was named the Executive Director of the Clackamas County Historical Society. The historical society operates two museums in Oregon City: The Museum of the Oregon Territory and the Stevens-Crawford House.
Jill Ogline Titus (2007) | Associate Director, Civil War Institute, Gettysburg College (Gettysburg, PA)
I first came to UMass for its Public History program. Its conception of public history as a discipline tied to academic history and the study of memory, encompassing but not limited to the more "practical" professional fields, set it apart from others and piqued my interest. While an MA student, I was involved in field projects with Historic Deerfield/Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association and the Greenfield Historical Commission, assisting with monument reinterpretation and preparing a National Register of Historic Places nomination. My summer internship with the Northeast Regional Office of the National Park Service led to three years involvement with the NPS Civic Engagement Initiative. In the meantime, I decided to pursue a Ph.D., which opened up opportunities to prepare a comps field in Public History; spend a summer helping a Concord-based nonprofit, the Walden Woods Project, develop a project on Thoreau & Conscience; and serve as program assistant for the UMass History Institute, an outreach arm to K-12 teachers. Upon graduation I was thrilled to accept a position as Associate Director of the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience at Washington College (starrcenter.washcoll.edu), where I oversaw an expanding writing fellowships program serving both scholars and nonacademic writers. In 2012, I accepted a position as Associate Director of the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College.
Stacie Sosinski (2007) | K-12 Teacher (Bayport, NY)
As a former teacher with a B.A. in History and Secondary Education from Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., Stacie came to UMass interested in Museum Education and learning to incorporate Public History into classroom settings, and interest sparked by a living history internship at Old Bethpage Restoration Village in Bethpage, N.Y., where she later developed an internship program. In 2006 as an intern herself at the Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, N.H., she designed and implemented new summer educational programs. The internship allowed her to utilize her knowledge of material culture, oral history, and public history gained in the program, while in her course work, she conducted an oral history of the post-war development of UMass-Amherst campus architecture as well as a study of landscape and memory on Fire Island, a particularly exciting project for this native Long Islander. Having heard of the UMass program from her undergraduate advisor, Stacie is happy to report it has advanced her academic and professional goals just as she'd planned; upon graduation Stacie returned to the school district where she taught before beginning her graduate work, where she seeks to bring together her K-12 and public history skills and experiences.
Jayne Armington (2006) | Plannet at the City of Joliet (Joliet, IL)
While pursuing her degree in History and Public History, Jayne pursued historic preservation, completing her internship with the Cherokee County [Georgia] Historical Society, where she completed a Historic Resource Inventory, and two National Register Historic District nominations. She decided to add a MA in Regional Planning, remaining at UMass to complete that coursework, which she finished in 2008. She also completed an internship in the Planning Department in Joliet, Illinois. After graduation she landed a job in the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission's Housing and Land Use Department; she became a Senior Planner in July 2012. As of 2016, she is a Principal Planner in the Community Development and Planning Division at the Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission.
Bridget Gurtler (2006) | Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Johns Hopkins University Institute for the History of Medicine
After completing her MA, Bridget entered the PhD program at Rutgers University. Her 2013 disseration, "Synthetic Conception: Artificial Insemination and the Transformation of Family and Reproduction in 19th and 20th Century America," investigated the scientific and social forces that uncoupled sex from reproduction, revolutionized understandings of family, and laid the foundations for the modern fertility industry.
Meghan Holmes (2006)
I first became interested in public history during my senior year at American University, when I was attempting to figure out what I could do with a BA in History. After a semester-long internship at the Sewall-Belmont Home in Washington, DC, I realized that a museum career matched my interests perfectly. I wasn’t quite ready to give up “traditional” history yet, and the Public History program at UMASS seemed like the ideal combination of theoretical and vocational history training. While I was completing my degree, I was able to intern at the Skinner Museum in South Hadley and at Old Sturbridge Village. Both experiences taught me about the realities of museum work, and helped me make important connections with local museum professionals. (And both opportunities came directly out of connections made through the Public History program!) After graduating, I was offered two jobs – as the Assistant Collections Manager at the Skinner Museum, and as the Research Specialist on a local Teaching American History project. Together, the positions allowed me to pursue museum work and make connections between museums and K-12 history teachers. As a collections management assistant, I was responsible for exhibit development, building relationships with Mount Holyoke College faculty members, and of course, keeping track of the objects in the collection. As a research specialist, I helped history teachers develop local history units for their classroom, as well as forge partnerships between schools and museums. At both jobs, the skills and knowledge I developed as a student in the Public History program proved invaluable; Upon graduation, they also helped me land my position as the Curatorial Assistant for Education at the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, VA.
Caitlin Shuster (2006) | Nonprofit Organization Management Professional
Caitlin came to UMass with a background in public history having worked as a historical interpreter at Historic Huguenot Street for eight years. After graduating with her Master degree and Certificate in Public History, Caitlin went on to work for The Energy Consortium, a non-profit which works to "find solutions to the technical, economic, and marketing challenges facing the growing solar industry," as an Administrative/Executive Assistant.
Kate Navarra Thibodeau (2005) | Historical Consultant
I came to this department with a strong background in Anthropology and Archaeology. The classes and projects I encountered in the Public History Program have introduced me to a world of museums; professional experiences like conferences; a network of museums and projects to work with; and a supportive environment. For five years, I worked as the Curator of Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke, MA and installed exhibits including: the Settlement House Movement, using the Skinner Coffee House in Holyoke, MA as an example; a historical exhibit on The Orchards Golf Course in South Hadley; a textile exhibit; and an series of exhibits on immigration and migration to Holyoke. My other duties include evaluating potential donations to the collections, overseeing the appraisal, cataloguing, and box listings, provide reference services for the public to both collections, oversee volunteers, interns and employees who work on or with the collections, work to increase the public knowledge of materials through public programming, publications and web content, and monitor budget needs for both collections and track donations for the collection. In 2008, I was promoted to City Historian, with additional duties like working with educational organizations and schools and other city departments, a position I held until I moved to the west coast a few years ago. I have recently begun working on an oral history project. I am also the author of two books: Holyoke: The Skinner Family and Wistariahurst, and Destination Holyoke.
Heather Gianni (2004)
After completing my first year in the history master's program I realized what a unique and valuable experience the Public History program provides UMass students. I have long been especially interested in the use of technology in bringing history to life, and began working with the Center for Computer-Based Instructional Technology (CCBIT) to provide teachers and students access to digitized primary documents and online curriculum which brings resources and tools right into their classroom. I also participated in the Archeology Summer Field School held at the W.E.B. Du Bois Boyhood Homesite in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. The Field School provides valuable first-hand experience providing public interpretation and learning archeology field techniques. It was the opportunity to receive an interdisciplinary education and work experience that made my time at UMass so rewarding.
Kristin Leahy Fontenot (2004) | Deputy Director, Office of Environmental Planning/Historic Preservation, FEMA (Washington, DC)
Kristin Leahy graduated from UMass Amherst's Public History program in 2004. Since then, her work has taken her on a rather interesting, and unexpected historic preservation path. Following Hurricane Katrina, Kristin worked with FEMA to review renovation, demolition, and restoration projects to help make preservation-minded decisions within New Orleans. After living out of a suitcase for far too long, she took the lead Historic Preservation Specialist/Cultural Resources Manager for the Army National Guard Headquarters in DC. With the Army National Guard, she worked with facilities all over the country to determine appropriate approaches to renovating buildings, developing ways to proactively engage with Tribes on their preservation concerns, and work with facilities managers responsible for managing properties listed on or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. That work continued with the Department of the Army in San Antonio where the preservation and environmental staff were located. There she worked on critical preservation issues including building preservation, considerations for handling and maintaining Tribal sacred sites, and started engaging in similar challenges faced by environmental counterparts including considerations for endangered species, critical habitat, and how to meet the Army's mission when it sometimes seemed contradictory to preserving historic properties and endangered species. After time there, she returned to DC and FEMA as the Agency's Environmental Officer (EO) responsible for managing environmental compliance requirements of the agency nationally. Now, Kristin works with a team of professionals both at Headquarters and in FEMA's Regional Offices who are trained in environmental and historic preservation compliance concerns. Together, the team integrates the protection and enhancement of environmental, historic, and cultural resources into FEMA's mission, programs and activities; ensures that FEMA's activities and programs related to disaster response and recovery, hazard mitigation, and emergency preparedness comply with federal environmental and historic preservation laws and executive orders; and provides environmental and historic preservation technical assistance to FEMA staff, local, State and Federal partners, and grantees and subgrantees.
Jennifer Mohan (2004) | Product Leader, OfferLogic (Waltham, MA).
I have a B.A. in Film from Emerson College with a minor in photography. My career interests are in Visual Arts archives, historical research for American documentary filmmaking, and multi-media exhibitions. My other academic fields at UMass were queer studies and the globalization and dynamics of social movements. Since UMass combines Museum Studies with History, I was able to study a range of topics in the program that pertain to my career goals. I have interned in the Audio-Visual Archives at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, the DEFA Film Library at UMass, as well as at the Harvard Film Archive, Harvard University. I worked with the Art and Technology Department to develop an exhibition at the Firehouse Theatre in Harlem, New York, proving historic visual material for the exhibit, and also to provide technical work for the theatrical performances. After completing my M.A., I decided to pursue another graduate degree, and entered the Film Studies program at New York University. I was Video Platform Manager at VivaKi Nerve Center, became Vice President of Platform Strategy at Optimatic Media, Inc. in May 2013, and as of March 2017 am product leader at OfferLogic.
Jennifer Cadwell-Vaughan (2004) | Education Outreach Specialist, Minnesota Historical Society (Minneapolis, MN)
A social studies teacher before she decided to pusue an MA in History, Jennifer during her years as a student at UMass, worked fro the Porter-Phelps-Huntington Historic House Museum in nearby Hadley, Massachusetts. After graduation she returned home to Minnesota, where she accepted a position at the Oliver Kelley Homestead, a living history museum operated by the Minnesota Historical Society. Since 2005 she has been an Education Outreach Specialist for MHS, where among other things she helped produce Northern Lights, the well-received social studies textbook and curriculum for Minnesota sixth graders.
Emily Fillebrowne (Briggs) Vincent (2004) (Washington, DC)
I came to the Public History program at UMass after growing up in southern California and attending Kenyon College for my undergraduate degree in History. I entered the program with previous experience in archiving and historic preservation. My summer internship was spent at the Martha's Vineyard Historical Society. While obtaining my degrees, I focused on War/Peace studies, specifically on the interaction between the home front and the war front. After graduation, I worked for a cultural resource consulting firm, Richard Grubb & Associates, in Cranbury, NJ, as a Historian/Architectural Historian. More recently, my career has deviated from a traditional Public History career. I have spent several years working in administrative positions for large research universities, learning about grant writing, editing publications, and managing accounts, calendars and travel. I also spent a year at the University of Pittsburgh on a Veterans Affairs grant with the department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology. I have been trained in conflict mediation and I have spent a significant amount of time volunteering with a non-profit organization called Give an Hour, which connects mental health professionals to veterans and their families. I was hired full-time by Give an Hour in January 2011 to work on a community organizing and civic engagement project called the Community Blueprint, which will help communities leverage their resources more collaboratively and effectively to help this deserving population. I transitioned to a new enterprise with the Wounded Warrior Project in June 2012. My History/Public History background has honed my analytical and research skills and my ability to communicate information in a relevant and meaningful way to a diverse population. I hope to continue my exploration of the impact of war on society and to look for ways to improve community problem-solving skills.
Angela Goebel Bain (2003) | Curator, Maine State Museum (Augusta, ME)
My interest in public history began while I was interning for my M.Ed. at the Cultural Center in Kahnawake, a Kanienkehaka (Mohawk) territory outside Montreal. I learned about the Deerfield raid of 1704 from the Kanienkehaka perspective. Eventually, I began working at the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association's (PVMA) Memorial Hall Museum in Deerfield, where one of their major exhibits has traditionally been the 1704 raid. Shortly after becoming the Museum's curatorial assistant, I entered the UMass Public History program as a part-time student, and found that whatever course I participated in each semester greatly enhanced my work. In my Museum/Historic Site interpretation course, for example, I created an exhibit for the Museum, and turned my research into a paper published in the Proceedings of the Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife, 2000. I became the project manager for several National Endowment for the Humanities and Institute for Museum and Library Services grants that sustained PVMA's museum-school partnership, training teachers to integrate primary resources into their classes, and oversaw the development of the American Centuries website. I was the primary researcher and content editor of PVMMA's award-winning website--Raid on Deerfield: The Many Stories of 1704--and co-curated the exhibition, "Remembering 1704: Context and Commemoration of the Deerfield Raid," which also opened in February, 2004. From 2006 - 2016 I worked as a Curator at the Illinois State Museum. Today, I am a curator at the Maine State Museum in Augusta. My coursework in the Public History program provided me with a theoretical framework which enabled me to confidently address a wide variety of both content and administrative issues in my day to day work. Drs. Glassberg and Miller are inspiring and have been and continue to be extremely supportive in and out of the classroom.
David Cline (2003) | Associate Professor of History and the Digital Humanities, San Diego State University (San Diego, CA)
David Cline received his Master's degree from UMass with a certificate in Public History in 2003. While in the program, he completed an internship that combined his interests in oral histoy and documentary production, spending a year interviewing African-American veterans for American RadioWorks' NPR documentary "Korea: The Unfinished War." See his Reporter's Notebook at americanradioworks.publicradio.org/features/korea/notebook2.html
He also made a short video documentary, "For the People," for an exhibit UMass students created on the Skinner Coffee House at Holyoke's Wisteriahurst Museum (for the on-line version, see www.ci.holyoke.ma.us/Skinner/eindex.html).
A fieldwork assignment in the Introduction to Public History class led to an ongoing relationship with the Valley Women's History Collaborative and after the program, Cline continued his oral history work with the VWHC, documenting reproductive rights history in the Pioneer Valley. He is the author of Creating Choice: A Community Responds to the Need for Abortion and Birth Controla collected work of edited oral histories based on that work, from the Palgrave Studies in Oral History series, published by Palgrave MacMillan (St. Martin's) in September 2005. David was awarded the National Council on Public History's HRA New Professional Award in 2004. After leaving Amherst, David completed his doctorate at UNC-Chapel Hill, where he was Associate Director of the Southern Oral History Program. He later became Professor of Public History at Virginia Tech. In 2017, David joined the faculty of San Diego State University.
David Favolaro (2003) | Curator of Research, Lower East Side Tenement Museum (New York, NY)
While at UMass I pursued study in collections management and museum interpretation with a focus on the history of New York City. I chose UMass-Amherst for the unique blend of academic and practical training as well as the unrivalled community of scholars and museum professionals that is the Five College Public History Program. Under the tutelage of professors from each of the Five Colleges, I had the opportunity to apply the theoretical lessons of the classroom in a variety of settings including the design of a historic markers program for Smith College. I interned at the New-York Historical Society in New York City helping develop institutional policy for the collections management department, and worked as a research assistant for Professor Max Page on an exhibition entitled "Destroying New York: An Exhibition of Premonitions, Fantasies, and Realities" planned for the New-York Historical Society in 2004. After graduation, I accepted a position in the research department of the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, one of New York City's leading museums.
Erik Gilg (2003) | Group Publisher, The Quarto Group (Minneapolis, MN)
I graduated from the University of Virginia in 1998 before enrolling in the history program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. While there I worked with faculty at the UMass Amherst, Smith College, and Amherst College, and had internships with the National Park Service, where I helped write a new Historic Resource Study for Lindenwald, President Martin Van Buren's retirement estate in NY, as well with the University of Massachusetts Press. After graduating I entered the publishing industry and have worked at Macmillan Publishers in NYC, Quayside Publishing in Minneapolis, and Zenith Press, an imprint focused on history, military history, and aviation. I am currently Group Publisher - Minneapolis Imprints at The Quarto Group and manage the editorial, production, and design departments.
Kris Woll (2003) | Advisor, University Honors Program, University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, MN)
While working on my M.A. in history and certificate in public history at UMass, I was involved in a number of projects -- as an oral history interviewer/researcher for the Valley Women's History Collaborative, as an intern at Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association working on both their American Centuries website and their Teaching American History program, and as the coordinator for the UMass History Department's History Institute. After graduation, I spent four years in New York City coordinating education programs and Teaching American History partnerships at the Brooklyn Historical Society and then the City University of New York's Gotham Center, dabbling in a few other education-related projects along the way. I currently live in Minneapolis, where I am a freelance writer and editor for educational publishing and media (and do a little creative writing, as well).
Abby Chandler (2002) | Professor, UMass Lowell (Lowell, MA)
I came into the program with a background in living history and museum education. While at UMass, I interned with Mystic Seaport; did a project for the Skinner Museum in South Hadley; and researched 18th century petticoats at Historic Northampton for my material culture project. After graduating, I completed on a Ph.D in early American history at the University of Maine. I am now a professor of early American history at UMass Lowell and frequently use material culture in my lectures. I am also working with the Tsongas Industrial History Center to build more connections between the academic and museum communities here in Lowell.
Kristin Morris (2001) | Curator, San Francisco Museum and Historical Society (San Francisco, CA)
I received my B.A. in history from the University of Virginia in 1995. At the time, I had never heard the words "public history" but knew I wanted to have a history career outside the academy. I came to UMass in the fall of 1998 to pursue my dream. How lucky I was to find a whole group of people of the same mind! While at UMass, I had the opportunity to do two projects for Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke with UMass Public History alumna Sandra Krein. I also coordinated the history department's History Institute (an outreach program bringing together faculty and K-12 teachers) for two semesters and the inaugural "Voices from Three Centuries" teachers' institute. After completing my coursework, I returned to my home state of California. For six years I worked at History San José, where I served in a number of roles, including online exhibits curator, historic site manager, school program coordinator, and volunteer coordinator. I am currently the curator at the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society, a particularly unique position in that we don't actually have a museum. We are going to build a new museum in San Francisco and Bay Area history in a national historic landmark building, the Old Mint (see www.themintproject.org for information). My job is to identify and acquire - through gift or loan - objects and artifacts for the exhibits in the Old Mint, as our own collection is quite small and fairly insignificant. It has been a truly wonderful adventure to meet my colleagues in history museums and associations around the Bay Area to pitch a collaboration in sharing objects for this great project.
Bree Beal (2002) | Director of Development at BEAT-Quality Children’s Theater (Bend, OR)
After graduating with her MA from UMass, Bree moved to Oregon where she was a Board Member and Volunteer with Sparrow Clubs USA, “a non-profit organization of school-based clubs that assist children in medical crisis and their families, both financially and emotionally.” She was also a Board Member for the Bend Area Habitat for Humanity. During this time Bree also served as a member of the Family Services and Selection Committee. In January of 2014 Bree assumed the role of Executive Director of BEAT, a non-profit children’s theater program located in Bend, Oregon. BEAT ‘s mission is “to empower youth by fostering creativity, collaboration, and self-confidence, and to enrich the quality of life and culture of our community, through Theater Arts."
Ann Chapman (2002)
As part of my joint M.A. in Landscape and Regional Planning and History/Public History, I completed an internship as an Interpretive Park Ranger at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park in Woodstock, Vermont. This is currently the only National Park in the country with Conservation Stewardship as its theme. The 550 acre wooded estate is significant as the birthplace in 1801 of George Perkins Marsh, who wrote the book Man and Nature, a landmark book in the history of the American Conservation movement, and as the site of the first scientifically managed forest in America, planted in the 1870s and 1880s by property owner Frederick Billings. I have received the American Institute for Certified Planners 2005 prize for student projects in Applied Research. My Master's Project, a proposal for a Massachusetts Conservation and Landscape Planning Heritage Trail extending from Boston to the Appalachian Trail at Mt. Greylock, emerged from her interdisciplinary work in both Public History and Regional Planning. The inspiration for my proposal was the 150th anniversary of the publication of Thoreau's Walden as well as the work of visionary regional planner Benton MacKaye, a long-time Shirley, Massachusetts resident, and father of the Appalachian Trail. The Heritage Trail links historic sites like the Boston Common, Walden Pond and the Mohawk Trail State Forest (illustrating the establishment of the Massachusetts State Forest and Reservation system and the evolution of hiking trails and trail networks) to illustrate various stages of American conservation history. The proposal may someday become a National Register Travel Itinerary, helping travelers discover the history of conservation in Massachusetts. (Please click here for work by Ann Chapman on the Massachusetts Conservation and Landscape Planning Heritage Trail)
Charlie Tebbetts (2001) | High School Teacher (South Deerfield, MA)
After teaching elementary school for five years, I thought pursuing public history would be a good practical application of my graduate studies. While studying public history, I gained a keen intellectual and practical understanding of museum and historic site presentation. Additionally, I elected to take a non-profit management class that lead to a wonderful internship that taught me the fundamentals of non-profit management and how historic institutions are run financially. After graduating I decided to return to teaching at the high school level, and today work at Frontier Regional High School in South Deerfield, Massachusetts. In some ways putting time and attention into public history might seem to have been a distraction. However, the opportunity, the example, and the creative application of studying history that public history offered me contributes daily to the way I can better teach high school students.
Gabrielle Burke (2000) | Accounts Manager, Bottomline Technologies (Portsmouth, NH)
After graduating from UMass with a Masters in History and the Certificate in Public History, Gabrielle went to work for Bottomline Technologies.
Richard Colton (2000) | Historian, Springfield Armory National Historic Site (Springfield, MA)
Rich Colton entered the National Park Service as an historian hardly a month after completing a Masters in History with a Certificate in Public History from the History Department at UMASS/Amherst in May 2000. Springfield Armory National Historic Site, the museum in Springfield, Massachusetts, housing the national collection associated with the national armory production at that site of military rifles and muskets from the late 18th century until 1968, allows Richard to work in public history with an important national focus. His work is also extended to area school systems in both outreach and aiding curriculum (Richard received a Master’s in Education just prior to entering the History Department). Within the museum, one of his major objectives is to bring before the public the many historical narratives of the people and times of this historic site that formed one of the earliest successful manifestations of American mechanized industrial production. As a National Park Service historian, Richard is also one of a close cadre of Park Service historians at sites throughout the nation. He recently had an industrial history of the Springfield Armory published [December 2008] as editor. The 350-page history, The Forge of Innovation, was originally a detailed study made for the NPS in 1989 by four of the best current industrial historians, Bob Gordon and Carolyn Cooper of Yale University, Pat Malone of Brown University, and Michael Raber. The volume remained at the Springfield Armory only in hard copy until Richard scanned, edited, and got Eastern National [the NPS publications and research arm] to fund publication. The volume is the most comprehensive history of the Armory for its full period of production.
Ron Lamothe (2000) | Assistant Professor of History, Lesley University | Documentary Filmmaker (Cambridge, MA)
Ron received his B.A. in 1990 from Tufts University, where he studied clinical psychology and political science. He traveled across Africa from Morocco to Tanzania in 1990 and 1991, taught history and English for three years in Washington, D.C., and. after a brief sojourn in Prague, enrolled as a graduate student in history at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. In addition to receiving his master's degree and certificate in Public History in 2000, Lamothe spent four years in the UMass Academic Instructional Media Services department as a producer, videographer and editor. He also worked as a researcher and associate producer for Florentine Films/Hott Productions. Most recently, Lamothe and Terra Incognita Films moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he now lives with his wife Karen and two daughters, Madeleine and Parker. He was a Dean's Fellow and received his PhD in African history at Boston University. His films include "The Political Doctor Seuss" (which aired in fall 2004 and featured UMass faculty member Richard Minear), and "The Call of the Wild" (2007), an exploration of the travels of 24-year-old “aesthetic voyager” Chris McCandless, who starved to death in the Alaskan wilderness in 1992. You can learn more about his production company, Terra Incognita Films, here.
Anne Poubeau (2000) | Project Specialist, Bottomline Technologies (Portsmouth, NH)
While at UMass, Anne preformed research toward the reinterpretation of the John F. Kennedy birthplace in Brookline, and also researched cheesemaking in the Porter Phelps household for the Porter-Phelps-Huntington House Museum in Hadley, MA. After graduation, she landed the position of Education Director at Old York Historical Society in York, ME which she held from 2000-2008. Her duties included designing and presenting school programs, overseeing interpretation and docent training, running the fellowship program in collaboration with curator of collections, and many others. In 2008 Anne moved to Bottomline Technologies.
Steve Bromage (1999) | Executive Director, Maine Historical Society (Portland, ME)
Steve Bromage earned his Master in American History and Certificate in Public History from UMass Amherst in 1999 where he focused on 20th century U.S. cultural history. During this time, Steve also served as Associate Director of the Disability History Museum, an online digital museum that promotes the study of disability history through primary documents. In 2001, Steve became the Director of Programs adn Education at the Maine Historical Society. He later became the Executive Director of the Maine Historical Society in 2012 after serving six years as the organization's Assistant Director. He is credited with the Society's growth that includes increasing both attendance and diversity as well as increasing MHS's virtual presence. He also has promoted positive relationships around the role of history in establishing community awarness and identity. Steve remains a leader in the field of digital history and participated in the creation of the Maine Learning Technology Initiative. He was also actively involved in establishing and promoting the Maine Memory Network- Maine's statewide digital history museum.
Sandra Klein (1993) | Historical Consultant (Longmeadow, MA)
Soon after completing the Public History Program at the University of Massachusetts, I was hired as the Director of Wistariahurst Museum, a twenty-six-room Beaux Arts mansion in Holyoke, MA. During my seven-year tenure there, I drew heavily on what I had learned in and out of the UMass classroom. While at Wistariahurst I became involved with the Emily Dickinson Homestead, as a member of the Homestead Advisory Committee and with the Bay State Historical League, as a member of the board. Until fall 2002 I served as Executive Director of the Lynn Museum, a community history museum in Lynn, MA and am now an independent consultant, as well as the 1st Vice President of the Bay State Historical League. Currently, I'm creating exhibits for area companies, including Smith & Wesson. I've been known to say that once you're a UMass Public History student, you're always a UMass Public History student - meaning that the relationships I built there continue to shape and inform my professional and personal life.
J. Michael Moore (1991), Independent Public Historian
J. Michael Moore is a public historian who has worked on a wide range of projects in New England. For his "Reflections of a Sometime Public Historian," a talk on the occasion of the program's 25th anniversary in 2011, see here. Mike directed the Northampton State Hospital Oral History Project, which chronicled the experience of work at this hospital for the mentally ill and the changes in mental health care over the last half century. As Industrial Historian at the Worcester Historical Museum he developed In Their Shirtsleeves, a permanent exhibition that tells the story of American industrial development through the experience of the people of Worcester, Massachusetts. Moore directed the project “Sogni D’Oro – Dreams of Gold,” which chronicled the experience of Italian immigrants and their descendants in Fitchburg and Leominster, Massachusetts. He served as a consultant and editor for the project Creating Eden: A Portrait of an American City through its Gardens, for the Somerville (MA) Arts Council. He has served as an instructor in the practice of oral history and the practice and potential of public history projects. He is the co-author, with David Glassberg, of “Patriotism in Orange: The Memory of World War I in a Massachusetts Town,” in Bonds of Affection: Americans Define Their Patriotism, from Princeton University Press.
Margaret “Peg” Hepler (1990)
More than two decades after I earned a bachelor's degree in history at the University of Wisconsin, I enrolled in the history graduate program at UMass. Fortunate to have David Glassberg as my advisor, who was enormously helpful and gave excellent advice, I concentrated on New England history in the then-new public history program. Becoming one of the first Public History graduates in 1990, I interned with the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, doing community-wide architectural surveys for several Connecticut Valley towns. I continued to work with historic preservation staff at the PVPC for a few years after graduating. While in Australia, I spent a year working in the Canberra office of the Australian Heritage Commission, and was impressed with that country's close collaboration between historic, environmental, and indigenous people's interests. Working as an independent free-lancer after my return, I conducted comprehensive historic resources surveys and wrote National Register nominations, contracting with local historical commissions in many towns across Massachusetts. In the past few years I've been active in a land trust where my historical background has been valuable in identifying and saving several historic landscapes. Hoping to strengthen links between the historic and environmental communities, I've enjoyed being an activist, working to protect important places for the future. Most recently, I've done historic context research for an archaeological team doing a National Park Service study in New Hampshire. Though I've reached the age at which many retire, I'm hoping to continue doing this very rewarding work.
Jean Petrovic (1990)
As a British citizen and one of the earliest graduates of the Public History program, I embarked on my MA following a BA (Hons) in American Studies at Manchester University, during which I spent my junior year at UMass. While doing the MA, I did two incredibly enjoyable internships - one at the University Archives and the other working on the Papers of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony which were being edited at the University at that time. Conversations with people I worked with on these internships prompted me to apply to do an MLS and I was accepted to do one - thankfully fully funded - at SUNY-Albany. While doing the MLS I did several more internships (a key to getting a good job I think!) - one at the University Archives and one with the University Library Reference team. Very fortunately for me a job came up at the newly formed Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library just as I was looking for a permanent position. I have now been here for 13 years (quite a brief period time compared to many of my Library colleagues!) and the job has changed quite a lot in that time. Essentially though, the Centre is dedicated to promoting the American holdings of the Library (which are the best outside of the US itself) and to supporting American Studies in the United Kingdom at both the school and college level. Among a very varied remit I write guides to the Library's collections, curate exhibitions - both real and virtual, compile an annual guide to American Studies BA and MA programs in the UK , and answer readers' enquiries. The Centre has an annual lecture series and we have an on-going program of conferences and seminars. To be honest I could not have asked for a better job - and there is no way I would have got it without having done the Public History programme at UMass!