The Practice of Public History (HI346J) takes an in-depth look at the many and diverse ways in which history is applied to real-world issues. By creatively linking classroom topics with community experience, students learn how history can be made relevant and useful in the public sphere.
Group discussions, workshops, lectures and exercises evolve around the role of archives, museums, historic sites and buildings, as well as history products in media such as television, radio and the internet.
Students deepen and apply the methods and skills of public history through a placement in one of the many organizations that bring history to life in Waterloo Region and beyond. Reflecting the multi-faceted nature of public history, the diverse placement options include exhibit planning, archival research, media relations, educational content development, website development, and serving as a museum docent.
In addition to being able to engage in public history through their placements, students get to experience little-known gems of local history, such as the Doris Lewis Rare Book Room and the Centre for Military, Strategic and Disarmament Studies.
Throughout this course, theoretical and practical components are interwoven to create a critical understanding of how history is perceived and interpreted outside the walls of the university.
Public history is about service to communities outside the university. Public history has grown to help solve practical problems in non-academic institutions, and to meet popular demand for accessible historical information. - Dr. Roger Sarty