Public History Minor

If you are interested in a career that connects with your passion for history, the field of public history offers many opportunities. Public history includes areas outside teaching such as local, state, and national historic sites, archives, and museums, and can be presented in person or exhibits but also through a variety of media, including digital history projects.

Museum worker surrounded by a ship installation

You might enjoy working with the public in a busy museum setting or perhaps the quiet of assessing and preserving items in an archive. A career in some areas of public history requires a graduate degree, but the combination of academic training and experience in the field offered in this minor will prepare you with a strong foundation and thorough knowledge as you consider your future options.

This minor draws on the strengths of the MCLA History and Arts Management programs to provide students with training in a variety of relevant subjects. The required internship provides an opportunity for students to tap into the many museums across the Berkshires or to work with a site close to home in the summer. Recent internships include Herman Melville's Arrowhead Museum, the Naval History & Heritage Command Museum in Maryland, the North Adams Historical Society, the North Adams Public Library, and the Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum.

The requirements of the minor are available on the Program Details web page.

For much more on public history, including career possibilities, visit the National Council on Public History web site.

For more information, contact department chair Anthony Daly.

History in the news

Kaitlyn Vogel

The Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor, Maine, is dedicated to educating visitors about the Wabanaki Peoples, a Native American confederation of five nations that originated in the area we now call Maine. Alongside the rest of the museum staff, Kaitlyn Vogel ’19 is using her arts management degree to fulfill that mission.

carousel horse

A minor in public history proved to be the perfect choice for Cassandra Lavoie ’18, now the manager of the New England Carousel Museum in Bristol, Conn. “I’ve already been able to apply my [research] skills and my writing numerous times at the Carousel Museum, in just the last six months!”

a group at the History Harvest talkback 5-1-19

Miss Agnes Scully was a bit of an enigma. A native of Troy, N.Y., she spent summers at a house on Windsor Lake in North Adams, and seems to have been regularly entertained by a series of gentleman callers—at least, that’s what MCLA students in Assistant Professor Amanda Laury Kleintop’s Introduction to Public History class have deduced by studying Scully’s life through her correspondence.