If you love history but do not want to teach, Public History is the perfect alternative. Public History is an exciting interdisciplinary field that embraces archeology, archives, oral history, education, museums, exhibits, and community planning and preservation. This is history that is seen, heard, read, and interpreted by a popular audience. We expand upon the methods of academic history by emphasizing non-traditional evidence and presentation formats, reframing questions, and in the process create a distinctive historical practice. Research in public libraries, civic archives, and community archives is part of it, as is the preservation of buildings, artifacts, historic places and cultural landscapes. Since Public History education and historic interpretation extends beyond the classroom, historians employ accessible formats such as living history, digital media, documentary film and radio to reach diverse publics.
The Department of History at San José State University offers several courses in Public History. Through these courses students develop their own Public History projects, including online slide shows and exhibits. History Department faculty undertake public and community history projects which represent a collaboration between the History Department, the university library, the public library, local government, and cultural and community organizations. Faculty projects and student internships provide our students with practical experience that enables them to pursue a graduate degree or a vocation in the field of Public History. The History Department’s special collection, The Sourisseau Academy for State and Local History, works closely with faculty directed Public History projects as an archival repository as well as a weblink for digital collections.