Graduates of the UNCW Public History Program are an active group. Employed in institutions both large and small and every size in between, they demonstrate a commitment to the best practices and the growth of the field.
Kara Deadmon, Historic Interpreter and Assistant Site Manager, Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum
"The public history program truly prepared me to be in my current position. I was lucky enough to work under two amazing professors and to receive a varied education. I enjoyed the way the program focused on both the theory behind public history (the why we love it) and the practical skills involved in building collections, exhibitions, and educational programs (the how we make others love it as much as we do).In my current position, I am technically a 'historic interpreter,' but I feel like my job entails all aspects of museum work, from designing and curating exhibitions, to writing grants, to interacting with the public and leading tours and programs. I can see aspects of my education filtering through into everything I do for CHB, and I am really grateful for my time spent at UNCW. "
Andrew Duppstadt, Assistant Curator of Education and
Historic Weapons Program Coordinator
North Carolina Division of State Historic Sites and Properties
"I was a graduate student in the UNCW Public History program from 1996-1999, after having completed my BA in History at UNCW. The program gave me a good foundation in the field of public history and allowed for me to begin to understand some of the basic building blocks of a public history career, including collaboration, community studies/local history, negotiation of public memory and public spaces, and the intellectual/theoretical underpinnings of it all. I parlayed my status as a graduate student into a part-time docent job with the Lower Cape Fear Historical Society and two internships, one at Wilmington Industrial Development, Inc. conducting an oral history project that laid the foundation for my thesis, and the other at Fort Fisher State Historic Site as a seasonal interpreter.As it turns out, the Fort Fisher internship launched my career. Upon graduation I served in a one year, grant funded position with the Carteret County Historical and Genealogical Society in Morehead City, then re-entered the public sector working at Tryon Palace in New Bern and the CSS Neuse State Historic Site & Governor Richard Caswell Memorial in Kinston. For the past seven years I have served as Assistant Curator of Education and Historic Weapons Program Coordinator for the NC Division of State Historic Sites, based in the East Region Office in Kinston. While working as an intern at Fort Fisher, I identified my current position as one of the best, if not the best, in the Division and eight years later I had the good fortune of landing it. The longer I work in the field, the more my studies at UNCW continue to be relevant and inform much of what I do on a daily basis, from working on exhibit teams to training field staff in historic interpretation and visitor services. The lessons learned at UNCW are still pertinent to everything I do."
Chance Hellmann (center), Education Coordinator at the Onslow County Museum
"I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the Public History department at UNCW. Studying under several excellent instructors allowed me to expand my view of public history and how it can reach a vast audience. I have been able to engage with people in various communities on a new level through my work on the traveling exhibit "Flashback" and my internship in the public library's special collections. Helping others make meaning out of their history in a visible and usable medium, and share it with a broader audience, has been a truly rewarding experience. These experiences also led to several consulting jobs that have really helped my resume.
"My current position as the Education Coordinator for the Onslow County museum draws on all of my experiences and knowledge gained in UNCW's public history department. From October 2012 to June 2013 I visited with roughly 6500 people, from school groups to volunteer organizations, sharing programs ranging from the fossil record of Onslow County to its Civil War history. Being able to put together a flexible program curriculum that meshes with teachers' needs and fits the museum's mission is a skill I took directly from the Museum Education course offered in the public history department. More importantly, the professional connections I developed through all of my experiences with the public history department have put me where I am today, and for that I am truly grateful.
"Also, sometimes I get to dress as a pirate and carry a sword, which I probably wouldn't do for work if I'd gone into engineering or something silly like that."
Mona Vance, Archivist, Columbus-Lowndes Public Library, Columbus, Mississippi
“Being a part of the UNCW Public History Program prepared me for my profession not only by sharpening my analytical skills, but also by teaching me how to collect, preserve, process, and manage historical materials.
The UNCW Public History Program introduced me to archiving, curating, oral histories, and much more that have been invaluable in my profession. The program included not only in class training, but also on site field trips to various historical museums and organizations.
It was while at UNCW that I truly realized that being a public historian is exactly what I love doing.”
Sharad Shah, Library Technician, Library of Congress
“I enjoy the flexible approach to examining and disseminating historical information. Having worked in several libraries, a museum, and as a consultant for UNC-Chapel Hill and the New Hanover County Health Department, I would not have been able to perform the tasks required by those positions (archiving, acquisitions, historical research, collections management, etc.) were it not for the education I received at UNCW. The education and training I received at UNCW afforded me career opportunities in Wilmington which bolstered my resume, and from there, I landed a position in the Copyright Office.”