Public History

The specialization or minor in public history will allow you to transform that passion into a rewarding career.

Students sitting in class

Want to share your passion for history with the world?

You'll explore the complex issues related to the role of history in the public arena. You'll develop professional skills and practical experience. And you'll do it in Boston, surrounded by landmarks of American history and steps from world-renowned museums and archives.

Our students take positions at places like historic sites, museums, and libraries that bring the past to a general audience. They work as researchers, publicists, filmmakers, web designers, and archivists who preserve and present history to the public.

A minor in public history consists of five courses:

one at the introductory level, one elective at any level, and three of the following:

HIST252 History & Material Culture 4
HIST253 Introduction to Public History 4
HIST254 History Through Novels & Film 4
HIST368 Sem. Public Hist: Sites of His 4
HIST370 Internship 0

HIST 368 is strongly recommended.

Internships and research are central to our program. You'll gain practical experience while refining your focus and making connections with leaders in the field. Internships may take place in film or television studios, or in some of the Greater Boston Area's museums, archives, historic buildings and other historical sites. Recent internship sites include:

  • Plimoth Plantation
  • The Paul Revere House
  • The Simmons University Archives
  • The African Meeting House
  • The Mary Baker Eddy Library
  • John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Career Opportunities for Graduates

  • Researcher, interpreter, or publicist at an historic house.
  • Public relations work for a museum or historic site such as the Old South Meeting House, the Black Heritage Trail, or the Women's Heritage Trail in Boston.
  • Developing websites or films about sites such as the sloop Adventure in Gloucester and Lowell Industrial Park.

Spotlight on Public History Students and Alums

Students working in the archives.

Simmons Students Revive Boston’s Lost West End

In Fall 2019, a group of 11 Simmons undergraduate students began researching the lost West End. Supported by a “Humanities Research for the Public Good” grant from the Council of Independent Colleges, the students created a series of exhibits, including one for the West End Museum, one on Simmons’ campus, and a digital exhibit.