Author Archives: Guest Blogger

The National History Center's Congressional Briefings programs seeks to provide Congressional staff and members with historical perspective on current policy issues. In turn, the Mock Policy Briefing Program provides a model to develop and host policy briefings in history classrooms.

Making History Relevant to Policymaking: A Classroom Guide on Implementing the Mock Policy Briefing Program

 By Jessica Choppin Roney

Editor’s Note: This is the last in a three-part series of blog posts on the National History Center’s Mock Policy Briefing Program, which Jessica Roney implemented in her course on the history of Philadelphia at Temple University. Part One discussed the rationale and relevance behind incorporating the program in a history classroom, while Part Two offered reflections on the program from students in Roney’s class. The Mock Policy Briefing Program Educator’s Workshop on “Understanding History’s Relevance to Today” will be held in Philadelphia on April 6.

Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library. "Donnell Library. Leady reading in lobby." New York Public Library Digital Collections.

How A Major in History Gives You the Intangible Edge

By Jacob Anbinder

It’s no secret that many departments use job prospects to lure undergraduates trying to pick a major. History departments in particular tend to tout their alumni’s diverse array of career paths in an attempt to answer the inevitable question: “But what will you do with that?” Among college majors, it seems, history is considered just “useful” enough to have to justify itself, but not so useful that students would flock to it anyway. Studying history, however, gives graduates tremendous flexibility in the job market.


Futures of History and the Language of Career Diversity

By Lindsey Martin

Few would turn down an opportunity to visit Los Angeles in late February. But when over 100 historians, including graduate students, faculty, and colleagues employed beyond academia, descended upon the University of California, Los Angeles, campus on February 25, sunshine and warm temperatures were not the main attractions. Instead, the group had convened for “Futures of History: Discussions, Demonstrations, Displays,” a two-day conference hosted by the UCLA Department of History, home to one of four pilot programs for the AHA Career Diversity for Historians initiative.

U.S. Capitol Building, Washington D.C.

Historians on the Hill: Building Relationships between Policy Makers and Historians

By Justene G. Hill

The National History Center has created the Historians on the Hill group and the Historians on the Hill Advisory Council to cultivate better relationships with congressional staffers and to augment outreach on Capitol Hill. These two initiatives will expand the National History Center’s advocacy campaign with the goal of connecting policy makers and their staff to historians working on issues of current legislative importance. The Advisory Council’s chair is Molly Michelmore, associate professor of history at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, and a former congressional staffer.

Kawaguchi's Environmental History course focuses on California, where the introduction of European plant and animal species disrupted the native ecosystem. The Mammoth Trees of California, Calaveras County, Sequoia Gigantea [redwood], ca. 1855, UC Berkeley, Bancroft LIbrary, via Calisphere

Transforming the US History Survey by Expanding Its Geographical Focus

By Lesley Kawaguchi

The AHA’s Bridging Cultures program, “American History, Atlantic and Pacific,” was geared toward providing an opportunity for community college history faculty to globalize their US history survey courses by engaging with innovative scholarship on the Pacific and Atlantic worlds. It also provided research opportunities at the Huntington Library and the Library of Congress, and culminated in presentations at the 2015 AHA annual meeting.

"Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pa." Photo credit: The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library.

Making History Relevant to Policymaking: Student Feedback on the NHC’s Mock Policy Briefing Program

By Kyra Chamberlain

This is second in a three-part series of blog posts on the National History Center’s Mock Policy Briefing Program, which Jessica Roney implemented in her course on the history of Philadelphia at Temple University in fall 2015. The students in her course spent a large portion of the semester working together as an entire class to research their mock policy briefing project and to construct a final presentation. At the end of the semester, they offered center staff comments about the program.

Slum Stove Baltimore 1940-50 (Langsdale Spec Coll)

The “Depression Disease”: What the United States’ First National Lead Poisoning Crisis Can Teach Us about the Flint Water Disaster

By Leif Fredrickson

In 1932, a young girl showed up at the Johns Hopkins Hospital with dire symptoms suggesting lead poisoning. A physician who went to the girl’s home to locate the source initially suspected lead paint, but couldn’t find any. When a neighbor suggested that the source could be the battery casings that families in the neighborhood were burning for fuel and warmth, the physician tested them and found that they were saturated with lead. In the months following the discovery of that first case of lead poisoning, dozens more children showed up in Baltimore and other cities’ hospitals with similar symptoms.