I’ve always been jealous of the archaeologists who get to spend their summers outdoors in interesting places, since my work entails going to such exotic locations as Rochester, NY and spending all my time indoors in the archives. Now the historian equivalent of the summer dig has arrived: public history field school. For its inaugural field school, Washington State University at Pullman has teamed up with the Montana Heritage Commission to send twenty students to Virginia City, an old Montana mining town, to do cultural resource assessment.* Of course, it’s not cheap: for the two week program it’ll cost you about $1500 plus transportation to and from Pullman. But this would definitely be a great way to gain hands-on public history experience, especially around CRM assessments, evaluations, reports, etc, which is where the money is in public history (if there is, indeed, any money). It’s open to all grad students from any schools.
I started looking around and learned that there are a few other public history field schools. The NPS’s Fort Vancouver has teamed up with Portland State for an eleven-week program. The first year was 2006; I can’t tell, however, if there was a program in 2007 or if there will be one this year. It also looks as though South Carolina had one at one time.
What a great idea! More field schools, please.
*I found out about WSU’s field school from an ad in the NCPH annual meeting program. Thanks, NCPH!