Public History, Modern American History


Lauren Whitley-Haney (she/her) is a Master’s Student in the History Department and is pursuing a Certificate in Public History. She received her BA in History from Mount Holyoke College in 2022. She has experience cataloging new collections at the Austin History Center and as a Museum Assistant at the Porter Phelps Huntington Museum. Lauren is interested in twentieth-century histories of museums and institutions, investigating the people and ideas that formed the public spaces we still navigate today. Towards that aim, Lauren completed her undergraduate thesis “The Preservation and Transformation of Destrehan Plantation: Physical Geographies and Social Landscapes of White Supremacy in Twentieth Century South Louisiana.” Her thesis weaves together discussions of public history, labor history, environmentalism, and politics to tell the story of a single Louisiana plantation’s transformation into a living history museum. For that work she graduated from Mount Holyoke Magna Cum Laude with High Honors and won multiple awards, including the Phi Beta Kappa Annual Prize and five other departmental and interdepartmental awards. In the future, Lauren plans to take her interests and skills into the public history field to effect change and advocate for institutional responsibility.