Option C: Public History Specialization
The Public History Specialization enables students to earn a Master of Arts degree in history while specializing in one or more areas of public history. The curriculum combines "traditional" history courses with opportunities for education in such fields as archives administration, museum studies, historic preservation, historical society administration, oral history, and other related areas. Courses and internships provide a solid foundation for entry-level positions in a variety of historical agencies.
Minimum degree requirement is 36 graduate credits, 18 of which must be taken in general History courses, the remaining 18 in Public History courses.
The 18 credits in general History must be distributed in the following way:
- 6 credits in colloquia (800 numbers)
- 6 credits in seminars (900 numbers)
- 3 credits in History 715 (Research Methods in Local History), and
- 3 credits in electives
Students may take 3 credits of either Hist 716 (Professional and Pedagogical Issues in History) or Hist 717 (History and the New Media) as a substitute for 3 credits in one colloquium.
Of the 18 credits in Public History courses, 9 credits are required:
- 3 credits in History 700 (Introduction to Public History), and
- 6 credits in History 701 (Internship in Public History)
Public History students must take History 700 within the first two semesters after they enroll.
History 700 explores the theory and methodology of collaborating in community history projects, the role of individual and collective memory in shaping historical consciousness and public history, and current controversies about how the past is presented for public consumption. A central concern of this course and the Public History Specialization focuses on creating opportunities for projects in which professional historians and local groups share responsibility for planning, conducting, and interpreting community history projects. In this context, students learn that "public history" means more than just "taking history to the public." Instead, it refers to developing what Michael Frisch has called "a shared authority" for inquiry and interpretation. Another goal of such work is to foster individual and collective empowerment through a better understanding of the forces that have shaped people's lives--an objective that is commensurate with the purpose of the humanities.
The remaining 9 required credits in Public History must be selected from courses that pertain to the area in which the student wishes to specialize. A thesis and comprehensive exam are not required for the Public History specialization. A thesis option is available; see below.
Students in Museum Studies must add the 3 elective credits in general history to the 9 elective credits in Public History and take the following four-course museum sequence:
- Anthro 720 (History and Theory of Museums)
- Anthro 721 (Administration and Organization of Museums)
- Anthro 722 (Museum Exhibits), and
- Anthro 723 (Museum Curation)
For students interested in careers as archivists, 6 of the 9 credits of electives should be in the following:
- L&I Sci 681 (Using Archives: The Value of Primary Sources in the Information Age), and
- L&I Sci 777 (Seminar in Modern Archives Administration).
Students interested in careers in historic preservation are advised to take at least three of the following courses:
- ArtHist 459: American Architecture, 3 cr
- ArtHist 461: Early Modern Architecture in the Midwest, 3 cr
- ArtHist 701: Colloquium in Architectural History, 3 cr
- Arch 531: Historic Concepts of Architecture, 3 cr
- Arch 551: American Vernacular Architecture, 3 cr
- Arch 560: Introduction to Historic Preservation, 3 cr
- Arch 760: History of Building Technology, 3 cr
- UrbPlan 652: Historic Preservation Planning, 3 cr
Students in the thesis track write a thesis in public history instead of doing internship. Students are required to take 6 thesis credits instead of 6 credits in Hist 701, and they are required to take 9 credits in interdisciplinary courses in the humanities and/or social sciences that focus on culture and politics in public history instead of 9 credits in specialized professional courses.
The following are recommended interdisciplinary courses (others may be chosen with the approval of the Public History coordinators):
349: Seminar in Ethnography and Cultural Processes, 3 cr
803: Survey of Cultural Anthropology, 3 cr
302 Architecture and Human Behavior, 3 cr
363 Modern Sculpture, 3 cr
458 Comparative History of Architecture and Urbanism, 3 cr
901 Problems in Art History, 3 cr
630 Seminar in Literature and the Other Arts, 3 cr
741 Backgrounds of Modernism II, 3 cr
741 Mass Culture, 3 cr
885 Seminar in Critical Theory, 3 cr
420 Documentary Film, 3 cr
Journalism and Mass Communication
560 History of Mass Media, 3 cr
562 Media Studies and Culture, 3 cr
815 Mass Media and Cultural Studies, 3 cr
Library and Information Sciences
550 Introduction to Information Science, 3 cr
615 Information and Records Management, 3 cr
681 Using Archives, 3 cr
789 Theory and Role of Nonprofit Organizations, 3 cr
700 Sociological Inquiry, 3 cr
927 Seminar in Sociology of Contemporary Institutions, 3 cr
928 Seminar in Social Organization, 3 cr
921 Research Methods in Urban Affairs, 3 cr
Public History students who are not in the thesis option must earn six credits in internships. The purpose of this requirement is to expand educational opportunities by giving students practical experience in one or more fields of public history. Students work 150 hours to earn three credits. They usually do two internships (earning three credits each) at two different institutions, but they may earn all six credits at the same institution. Internships can be performed at any institution in the world. Because arrangements for fieldwork can take some time to complete, students should begin planning internships with the Public History Coordinator at least one semester before they plan to begin work.
Procedures for arranging internships are quite simple. Once a student has decided where she/he would like to do an internship, UW-Milwaukee will establish a "Master Agreement" with the host institution if one has not already been concluded. This agreement of affiliation establishes a general contractual relationship between the two institutions. (Note: all Milwaukee County agencies are already covered under a single affiliation agreement.) The Public History Coordinator will initiate the Master Agreement for the student. The Coordinator also will help the student negotiate a Program Memorandum with the host institution that describes the responsibilities of the Public History Program, the host institution, and the student intern during the period of internship. The Memorandum must be approved and signed by the student, a representative of the host institution, the Public History Coordinator, and the Dean of the College of Letters and Science.
At the conclusion of the internship, the intern's supervisor will submit a brief written evaluation of the student's performance, including a suggested final grade. This report will be placed in the student's file; its contents may be referred to in letters of reference to prospective employers. Students must submit a final paper of approximately ten pages in which they summarize and evaluate her/his internship. Those papers should explain the purpose of the host institution, describe the internship work in detail, and assess the internship as an educational experience. The student's final grade is based upon the host institution's evaluation of the student and the student's final report.
Within the first semester after completing 9 credits (including two of the following courses: 700, a colloquium and/or seminar), Public History students are subject to an Academic Review. The Review is a one-hour meeting with Professor Alinder, who will serve as your Major Advisor. The Review involves an evaluation of your academic progress in master's course work, and of two unrevised course papers. At your Review, you and your advisor will discuss opportunities for internships and future coursework. After this review, you and your advisor should complete the Advisor Designation and Academic Review Form and return it to the Director of Graduate Studies.