Write an essay where you tell us about what drives you in your pursuit of your graduate degree.

The biggest motivator in my pursuit of a Master’s in Public History is the idea of working with history and presenting to the greater public rather than simply studying it. Internships in historic preservation and museums have shown me how enjoyable working with history can be.
Whether an artifact, document, or structure, to be able to work with history has been far more satisfying to me than simply reading and writing about history. Don’t get me wrong, reading and writing about history can also be a very enjoyable process, as history has always been one of my strongest subjects. However, public history not only allows me to work with history, but for other people and non-historians to either see, enjoy, learn about, and/ or also work with history. In a sense, being a public historian is almost like being a teacher outside of the classroom.
An example of working with history hands on being rewarding, engaging, and informative was while I was interning with my hometown’s historic preservation office in Spokane, WA. The office is currently working on a historic neighborhood with nearly 500 resources (what we call properties). This meant working with the people of the neighborhood who themselves add to the narrative of the neighborhood by telling us a little about any work done on the house and any history attached to their homes. Listening to these passionate residents not only made them feel good, but it also made us feel good to see that these residents care so much about their community. The notion shows just how history can be a harmonizing factor in the right hands.
In conclusion, public history is an important field of study that largely goes unnoticed. The importance of public history is, as the name implies, making the public aware and appreciative of history around them. That is the factor that drives me to pursue the field and motivates me to work my hardest to get as far in the field as I can to help keep people informed of the story of what is around them.

Reilly from Washington
Northern Kentucky University