In part two of this interview with Tim Grove, acting chief of education at the National Air and Space Museum, learn about misconceptions in the history profession, advice for those with history degrees, and his thoughts on digital history.
In part one of this interview, which appeared on the blog yesterday, Grove spoke about the responsibilities of his current job, his background, and how he got into history.
Q: It seems history can be a tough thing to sell sometimes. There are a lot of misperceptions around it.
One of the fun things about studying history is it isn’t restricted solely to historical eras you read in textbooks; you can find history in everything from cars, to McDonalds’ Happy Meal toys, to the Appalachian Trail.
Tim Grove knows the variety of history topics out there. He has held both conventional historical jobs at places such as the National Portrait Gallery and the National Museum of American History, and somewhat unconventional ones, like his current position as the acting chief of education at the National Air and Space Museum.
Lindsay Flanagan offers a slightly different perspective for our series because she is both working on her PhD in history and holding down a career in the field as a museum program associate for the American Red Cross. She talks passionately about finding a career that has allowed her to exercise and strengthen her love of history but also work with the public, which she finds incredibly rewarding. Working at the Red Cross National Headquarters in Washington, D.C., you can imagine the high volume of people from around the world who come through there for public tours.
Emily Weisner, a National Park Service Ranger at the Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial, is proving to all of the skeptics out there that public history is anything but history light.
Weisner caught the history bug as a young girl, her interest sparked by the historical sites she visited on family trips. She continued this passion during her undergraduate years at the University of Notre Dame, pursuing a degree in American studies and anthropology. Following graduation, she decided to take her studies a step further with a master’s degree from American University in history, but more specifically public history.
In part two of this interview, Matt Wasniewski, historian in the U.S. House of Representatives, discusses his thoughts on the public’s view of history, advice for history students, and more.
In part one he explained how he got into the history field and his current job, what his regular duties include, and more about his background.
What kind of misperceptions do you think people have towards those with a history degree? You know, Why study history?
Again, as an undergraduate, I had roommates who were history majors.
Less than a month from now, the 2009 AHA annual meeting will open in New York, and the City that Never Sleeps will be flooded with historians talking about their latest research, networking, catching up with old friends, and of course, looking for jobs.
The Job Center this annual meeting will be located in the Hilton New York. The free interview tables, where most institutions will be conducting interviews, will be located in the Hilton’s Rhinelander Gallery, and the official paid Job Center interview rooms will also be in the Hilton.
The Organization of American Historians has called for applications from qualified individuals who wish to be considered for the position of executive director of the 100-year-old organization, which is dedicated to the promotion of “excellence in the scholarship, teaching, and presentation of American history.” The screening of applications began on November 15, 2008, but the search will continue until the position is filled. The appointment will initially be made for a five-year term.
The OAH is looking for candidates who have “a record of active scholarly pursuits; commitment to mobilize and communicate with historians of widely different interests and to represent their concerns in national, regional, and local settings; a sensitivity to the interests of the organization’s diverse constituencies; a vision of how the organization’s web presence and digital opportunities can be enhanced; experience with development and marketing strategies; and a sound understanding of non-profit organization finances.”
Pete Daniel (Smithsonian Institution), the co-chair of the search committee, informed AHA Today that while the search is being conducted, a Strategic Planning Committee set up by the OAH is at work, developing a blueprint for the organization’s future, and that the person selected to be the next executive director will be expected to actively contribute to the committee’s work.
Will you be conducting interviews at the annual meeting this January? Institutions that wish to interview candidates at the 2009 AHA Annual Meeting in official Job Center facilities will need to reserve space by Friday, November 14, 2008. There are both tables and interview rooms still available. To place a reservation, visit the Job Center home page and download the appropriate forms. Completed forms should be faxed to 202-544-8307 or e-mailed to Liz Townsend.