Public History

Public History is history presented or practiced outside the classroom – in museums, monuments, historic sites, battlefields, archives, digital history and film.  Union College’s Public History Program offers a minor, a major concentration, academic internships, two miniterms, and a number of courses open to everyone. The program introduces students to the theory, methods, practice, and controversies of public history in its various dimensions and engages them in local public history projects.

Program Director

Professor Melinda Lawson, X 8041 or lawsonm@union.edu.

The Classroom Experience

A History degree prepares students for a wide range of careers.It teaches students to read widely, to marshal disparate materials, organize them rationally, think about them analytically, and interpret them in clear, persuasive writing. There is ample opportunity for close faculty-student interaction and for students to develop their ability to work independently. Professors teach all courses; there are no teaching assistants.

The History Curriculum

History at Union offers a concentration in one of five fields: Africa, East Asia, Europe, Latin America, or United States. To complete the major students take at least 12 courses in history, including a junior seminar and a two-term senior project.The two-term senior project involves independent research under the individual direction of a professor in the department, normally resulting in a written thesis, but occasionally in movies, or other innovative forms of presentation. Students draw on the resources of the well-equipped Schaffer Library that houses collections dating back over two centuries.