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It’s Not Your Father’s History Major

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Posted on November 2, 2015 by By Dr. Jack Schmidt.

Courtesy: Dr. Craig Stutman DelVal students visiting a history display.

Dr. Jack Schmidt is professor of music and chair of the liberal arts department at Delaware Valley University where he conducts the Jazz Band and the Symphonic Band. 

When you mention the thought of becoming a history major, the first image that forms in many people’s minds is someone sitting half asleep in front of the computer at 3 a.m. trying to finish a research paper on some obscure foreign battle or spending hours in the library trying to wade through long articles written by an expert whose only purpose is apparently to show off his impressive vocabulary. While not everyone remembers their high school and college history classes fondly, many of us spend significant portions of our holidays, vacations and spare time seeking out history by choice. 

Whether visiting local battlefields and memorials, spending afternoons in museums, watching documentaries on the History Channel, or researching our own family histories, many of us love history, but loathe the idea of spending hours in some library to write an uninspired paper that only the teacher will read. Even worse is the thought of teaching history so the next generation of students can experience the same pain we did. 

If this sounds like you, then check out the new major in history, policy and society at Delaware Valley University. Public history is the presentation of historical knowledge to a general public audience. The subject of public history takes many forms: museum presentations, television documentaries, historic preservation projects, collection and recording projects, and the retranslation of traditional historical knowledge into modern, digital formats. As an academic discipline, it also focuses on the efficient and ethical management of our nation's historical heritage and collective memories. 

DelVal’s new major in history, policy and society provides you with a strong foundation in traditional history courses, but also provides the opportunity to apply historical knowledge and methods in settings such as museums, historical sites, businesses and the mass media. 

Courses will require students to complete hands-on, integrative projects, including oral histories, historic preservation and museum exhibits. Whether you want to work with the National Park Service, a local museum, a tour company, or a government or community organization or, start your own blog, this major is designed for you. 

Recent job postings in public history include the following:

·  Education Outreach Manager at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation in California

· Tour Guide at the Alamo

· Park Ranger at the Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park in Virginia

· Curator at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Ohio

· Education Specialist at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian

· Coordinator of Civic Education Training Programs at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum 

Our faculty are outstanding teachers and mentors dedicated to student success. Whether in the classroom or in the community, DelVal faculty are committed to providing students with the skills and knowledge to achieve their future professional and personal goals. This exciting new major is a testament to their dedication to the pursuit of knowledge and their understanding of the dramatic ways in which the history profession has changed in recent years. 

Making a difference in the lives of people locally and globally is what a DelVal history, policy and society degree is all about. Come check us out! Learn more about the new public history major at DelVal when you schedule a campus visit.