Department of History

Kenneth Shefsiek,
Assistant Professor and Acting Coordinator for the Public History Program


  • Ph.D., University of Georgia (2010)
  • Master of Heritage Preservation, Georgia State University (2000)
  • Master of Music, New England Conservatory of Music (1989)
  • Bachelor of Music, Ithaca College (1986)

Selected professional experience

  • Executive Director, Geneva (NY) Historical Society, 2006-2012
    Curator of Education, Huguenot Historical Society, New Paltz, New York, 2001-2003
  • Member, Board of Directors, Upstate History Alliance/Museumwise, a service organization for New York museum professionals, 2007-2012
  • Advisor, Historic Districts Commission, Geneva, New York, 2007-2012
    Vice-Chairman, Village of New Paltz (NY) Historic Preservation Commission, 2002-2003

Academic Interests

As a public historian, my primary interests are in the operation of historic house museums, with a particular focus on interpretation and material culture, and historical memory. I also teach courses in historic preservation and museum administration. As an early Americanist, my primary research concern is the intersection of social and cultural history in the eighteenth century. I am also interested in microhistory as a methodology, and I am currently preparing a graduate course in the methodology for the 2015-2016 academic year.

Courses Taught

  • HST 105: United States History through 1865
  • HST 570: Public History, Theory and Practice
  • HST 575: Administration of Museums and Historic Sites
  • HST 477/577: Historic Preservation in the United States
  • HST 580: Topics in Public History, Historic House Museums

Significant Publications

  • My manuscript, "Set in Stone: Constructing and Commemorating a Hudson Valley Culture," will be published in April 2017 by the State University of New York Press. In this microhistorical study of the village of New Paltz, New York, a community founded by French-speaking Walloon Protestants in a Dutch cultural region in an English colony, I explore ethnocultural interaction and creolization in the Hudson River Valley during the long eighteenth century, and the constructing of historical memory in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.