Public History at UNCW

Making a Future for the Past

Collaborate, Create, Cooperate: The UNCW Public History Program,

a video by UNCW Public History MA student Leslie Randle-Morton

Both the present and the future are grounded in the past, and history forms the basis for who we are as individuals, societies, and nations. This belief is what motivates public historians, who guide and support communities, businesses, and other organizations in their preservation and interpretation of historical resources. Public historians seek to foster the public awareness of and engagement with our histories, and promote the use of historical research in seeking solutions for contemporary problems.

Students in UNCW’s Public History Program receive a Master in Arts in History, with a concentration in public history. Our program allows students to develop both scholarly and practical skills, necessary to meet new challenges in the field. Using a hands-on, project-based approach to learning, students build skills in historical research, oral history, digital history, exhibit design, historic preservation, museum education and administration and collections management. The UNCW public history faculty seeks to mentor our students as they develop their skills and beliefs as emerging public historians, and to collaborate with students and community partners on projects of importance to our region. Our students have won the National Council on Public History’s Student Project Award and our graduates have gone on to work in a variety of settings, including the Onslow County Museum, Columbia University, the Columbus-Lowndes County Public Library, the University of Georgia, the United States Capitol Visitors Center, Charlotte Hawkins Brown State Historic Site and the Library of Congress.

If you’d like more information about the UNCW Public History Program, or would like to visit our campus, please contact Ken Shefsiek, the program’s director, at or 910.962.3861.


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