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Public History Program

In the PSU Public History Program, students and faculty connect to local, regional, national, and global audiences through community-based courses and projects.

As public historians we are committed to engaged scholarship and use many methods and approaches to study the past. We have expertise in oral history, publications, public programs, historic preservation, and the uses of technology in historical projects that range from archives and exhibits to podcasts.

In the public history program, students and faculty explore the past with an eye toward communicating their questions, discoveries, and interpretations broadly with other practitioners and with the general public. We do this by fostering partnerships with community groups and organizations in the Portland area and beyond. While earning your degree, you'll use our urban location in the heart of downtown Portland, Oregon and collaborate with local public history and community organizations such as the Oregon Historical Society, Portland Parks and Recreation, the National Park Service’s Fort Vancouver, and the Museum of the Oregon Territory on projects that range from podcasts to museum exhibits. Through these partnerships, PSU students have access to internships, courses, and other research, learning, and pre-professional opportunities.

If you have a passion for the past, the study of public history is excellent preparation for careers in museums, libraries and archives, and many other institutions.  Public History provides skills, background, and contacts for government and public service as well as in journalism, editing, and fundraising/ development. Graduates of the program are now working as archivists, editors, museum directors, consultants, and historians for hire at places like the Oregon Historical Society, the Museum of Speed, METRO, the City of Gresham, Historical Research Associates, Inc., Portland Parks and Recreation, and the Subiaco Museum in Perth, Australia.