Public history describes the many and diverse ways in which history is put to work in the world.


Every historical marker by the roadside, every war memorial, every historical article in a magazine, every exhibition at a historical society is an act of public history.

  • How does public history differ from — but grow out of — academic history?
  • How can we communicate ideas about history effectively to a broad audience?
  • What is the purpose?

Look for these questions throughout the History department’s public history “threads.”

What is a thread?

A thread lets you knit together courses on a wide array of topics that share a common interest in the problems and techniques of public history. Lower key than a formal field, this is a purely optional way of pursuing public history that introduces you to an exciting range of issues, analysis, and assignments, all of which connect to the common theme.

Public History courses, 2022-2023:

HIST 200 Historians for Hire (Fall and Spring-Tony Adler, Winter-Serena Zabin)
A two-credit course in which students work with faculty oversight to complete a variety of public history projects with community partners. Students will work on a research project requiring them to identify and analyze primary sources, draw conclusions from the primary source research, and share their research with the appropriate audience in an appropriate form. We meet once a week at Carleton to ensure students maintain professional standards and strong relationships in their work. Potential projects include educational programming, historical society archival work, and a variety of local history opportunities. Fall, Winter, and Spring.

Additional Academic Civic Engagement (ACE) courses can also be found here: ACE Course List

Public History / Digital Humanities Resources


Please contact Victoria Morse or Serena Zabin.