I have been including Public History in most of my courses and this past spring semester I taught a course on Immigration and Oral History for UMBC’s History Department at their branch in Shady Grove. Given the opportunity, I would love to teach courses with the following foci:
- Introduction to Public History
- History and Memory
- Oral History
- Digital History
Apart from visits to local archives, museums, and memorials as well as meetings with local public history practitioners, I would like to collaborate with community partners on hands-on student team projects and would encourage students to pursue internships. My courses would also emphasize creative thinking and training in time management skills, grant writing, team work, blogging and website design.
In addition, I would like to develop digital history projects with graduate students based on my courses on immigration and The United States through Foreign Eyes. While a digital history project on immigration might focus on the migration history of a specific region or state, a project based on The United States through Foreign Eyes could provide an interactive world map that invites the public to study the ways in which the United States has been viewed from the outside throughout its history and by different constituencies.
I have been exploring public history through my community-centered research and as a former fellow at the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) in Washington, D.C.
The research for my forthcoming book is based on oral histories and prompted me to explore and apply theories concerning the relationship of history and memory, especially the meaning and political implications of historical narratives in light of diverse collective and individual memories of the past. During my fellowships at NASM I took advantage of many opportunities to learn about the practical aspects of Public History and the challenges that come with the territory.
I am a member of the National Council on Public History (NCPH) and have been a juror for exhibits and websites for National History Day at the University of Maryland, College Park, since 2009. I conducted research and rights clearance for the Earl Scruggs Center: Music & Stories from the American South through MJM Picture and Film Research, acted as a peer reviewer for a proposal to screen documentary film Harvest of Empire (2011) at the Warner Bros. Theater at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, and consulted for the Alabama Public Television documentary, Missile to the Moon: Wernher von Braun and Huntsville (2012).
I have presented my research in a public lecture at the Kansas City Public Library in 2009, at the NCPH Annual Meeting in 2011, and to the curatorial staff at NASM, where I offered ideas for an exhibit on my research topic. I am currently crafting an article, titled “German ‘Rocket Scientists’ in Huntsville, Alabama: Negotiating Community Memories of a Complicated and Contested History” for submission to The Public Historian.
I have spent at least one day a week in the Space History Division at NASM as a visiting scholar, engaging in discussions with resident curators about public history since I moved to Washington, D.C., in 2008. During my Verville fellowship at NASM in 2010/2011, I began participating in planning meetings of the Smithsonian Institution’s Immigration/Migration Initiative, which is tasked to develop a permanent exhibit at the National Museum of American History and other off- and online educational projects exploring the history of migration to, from, and within the United States. I have continued to participate in the initiative as my schedule allows.