About the Collection

The Public History Program in the Department of History at University of South Carolina is one of the nation’s oldest programs in the country dedicated to training graduate students in historic preservation, material culture, and history and theory of museums. Initially known as the “Applied History Program,” the program prepares students to practice public history in a range of historical sites and settings.

This collection includes 36 interviews conducted with past students of the Public History Program and former faculty directors. Including students from the earliest days of the program in the 1970s up to recent graduates, the collection documents the program’s growth and the profession’s maturation. Interviewees often reflect on the future of public history as a discipline and a movement.  The collection will be of interest to current public history students and potential students as well as faculty members and many others interested in historical sites broadly.

The University of South Carolina’s Public History Program oral history collection originated from a open meeting of Public History students and faculty in the Fall of 2015 on how to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the program that began in 1975. Dr. Marsh suggested an oral history project that explored the careers of alumni over the decades and their understanding of public history as a professional.

In Fall 2016, twelve graduate students in Dr. Marsh’s Oral History course gathered these oral history interviews in this collection as part of a semester-long project. Working closely with Andrea L’Hommedieu in the Department of Oral History, graduate students collaborated on the interview questions, transcription process, and they developed a series of end products including informational posters, collection guides, and booklets.