The Interviews

Program Attendance: 1992-1994

Career highlights:

  • U.S. Air Force Veteran
  • Development Officer
  • Historic Preservation Committee

Betsy Arnett

“Focusing particularly on the historic preservation track, since that’s the track that I went through and where I am active today, is get more real world, more practitioners in to talk to the students and to do case studies… You get more of an understanding about what is really happening in the field rather than just the academic discussions.”

Program Attendance: 2007-2009

Career highlights:

  • Administrative Assistant, Richland County Library
  • Community Impact Program Assistant, United Way of the Midlands
  • Grants administrator, South Carolina State Library

Halie Brazier

“I think material culture is something that is really important in life and gives people a lot of emotions: good, bad, everything. It keeps people going sometimes, to hold on to something like that. I really love that about the museum field and I think that’s what public historians bring to people.”

Program Attendance: 2009-2011

Career highlights:

  • Curator of History, Columbus Museum
  • Graduate Assistant, Historic Columbia

Rebecca Bush

“My time at Historic Columbia was extremely transformative, it was one of the most valuable things I got out of the program was having that hands on experience with exhibit development, with collections management, with working with the public, researching, you name it, I was involved or around it.”

Program Attendance: 2012-2014

Career highlights:

  • Preservation and Education Coordinator, Historic Macon Foundation

Kimberly Campbell

“That really drew me to preservation as a way to draw more people in. I think it’s one of the most effective ways to get people interested in history — even if you are not actively interpreting a site. To create that connection and to create the sense of community that can create in the way that can enhance a person’s life to just have that connection to the past.”

Program Attendance: 2012-2014

Career highlights:

  • Registrar and Operations chief, Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum
  • Assistantship, UofSC Department of History
  • Historic House Docent, Historic Columbia Foundation

Rachel Cockrell

“The historian should be a storyteller. People are always fascinated to hear stories. You need to present history as a story. That’s where museums do a good job. They pick a person or an object that illustrates a person’s story, but you have to set it in context. You have to tell about the battle and you have to tell about the war the battle is a part of…”

Program Attendance: 2013-2016

Career highlights:

  • A&E Television Networks
  • Museum at Eldridge Street
  • South Street Seaport Museum
  • Manager, The Women’s History and Resource Center, General Federal of Women’s Club

Alyssa Constad

“One of the public history program’s strengths is that they make sure that you’re also taking traditional History PhD courses along with the fieldwork. You’re not only getting a hands-on experience of learning, how to write an exhibit label, or what objects you want to be collecting, but you’re also learning how to think critically about those objects, …about how the line of thinking that you’re putting on public display fits into the greater historiography.”

Program Attendance: 1985-1988

Career highlights:

  • Head of Published Materials, South Carolinana Library
  • Richland County Library
  • South Carolina Department of Archives and History

Robin Copp

“I think what Allison is doing with the oral history is great. It really is. Oral history is a really good…while I was at the public library, we actually did some oral histories of people involved with the library and people in the neighborhood around the main new library, which was a very thriving African-American neighborhood at one time.”

Director, 1975-1981

  • UofSC History Professor
  • Veteran
  • SC ETV radio: “Walter Edgar’s Journal”

Walter Edgar

“That was one of the reasons on why I wanted to have this program started. To have young people who really had a desire to present history to a broader audience.”

Program Attendance: 2001-2003

Career highlights:

  • Chief Curator of Collections and Exhibitions, South Carolina Relic Room and Military Museum
  • Lawyer

Sarah (Wooton) Garrod

“I was at the Relic Room after I graduated, I had the fortune of being able to bring in other students to do internships to help them fulfill their requirements and build their portfolios because I’d been through it. I knew what it took to build a good portfolio and I wanted to give back.”

Program Attendance: 2009-2011

Career highlights:

  • Graduate assistant, South Carolina Department of Archives and History
  • Intern, Planning services, City of Columbia
  • Curator of collections and exhibits, Baranov Museum
  • Consulting historian and project director, Alaska Historic Canneries Initiative, Alaska Historical Society

Anjuli Grantham

“I come from a commercial fishery family in Kodiak, Alaska and the history of the North Pacific has always fascinated me. The history of Kodiak, my home island. And I wanted to write a thesis that was related to the Northwest, Alaska or the Northwest, because I intended to move back to the Northwest after graduate school…it was for me an opportunity to write about something that mattered to the place where I came from and be one of the first people to talk about it.”

Program Attendance: 1994-1999

Career highlights:

  • Preservation planner and department head,  City of Columbia
  • Assistantship, South Carolina State Museum
  • Assistantship, registrar and the city planning office, City of Columbia
  • White Pine Camp (the summer White House of President Calvin Coolidge)

Krista Hampton

Program Attendance: 1985-1988

Career highlights:

  • Consulting Professional Historian
  • Documentation Photographer
  • Acting Director,  Hezekiah Alexander Homesite
  • Senior and Architectural Historian, Brockington and Associates
  • Senior Cultural Resources Specialist, Kleinschmidt Associates

Bruce Harvey

“I knew that I liked the sense of purpose and direction that you could have with working in public history – the kind of contexts, in which you would be working – the way that the material that you would be developing would be used by a wider range of people with a wider range of interests.”

Program Attendance: 2006-2008

Career highlights:

  • Graduate assistant, Teaching American History in South Carolina program
  • Graduate assistant, Historic Columbia Foundation
  • Outreach archivist, Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies
  • Internship, Office of Art and Architecture with the Smithsonian

Jan (Levinson) Hebbard

“I think that public history is kind of a flexible field, maybe it’s just because of the nature of what it is. But I think it’s willing to adapt and embrace new things and be on the cutting edge of certain kinds of things in a way that maybe traditional, academic historians are not. I think that’s good. I think if public history can get something started, you never know where it could go, who it could catch on with…”

Program Attendance: 1992-1998

Career highlights:

  • Internship, Historic Columbia Foundation
  • Volunteer coordinator, Historic Columbia Foundation
  • Associate Director of Research and Grant Development, University of South Carolina in the Office of Research

Beth Herron

“Well, — and I think it’s shortsided to think that…the history or other social science or humanities majors can’t be a good or…can’t lead to a good careers. I think when you’re history…you obviously have to be able to write very well and think critically. I think those are skills that can translate to a variety of professions.”

Program Attendance: 1996-1999

Career highlights:

  • National Park Service
  • Internship, Francis Marion National Forest
  • Historic Sites Coordinator for the South Carolina State Parks

Al Hester

“The Emanuel Church shooting in Charleston is a pivotal moment. I think a lot of people in the profession obviously are thinking about how to apply public history the way it benefits the present. It really galvanized people here in South Carolina but nationally to really think about how public historians can contribute to current discussions about race and social justice…”

Program Attendance: 2007-2009

Career highlights:

  • Graduate assistant, South Carolina Confederate Relic Room
  • National Park Service (Frederick Douglass National Historic Site)
  • Fort Sumter National Monument
  • National Mall and Memorial Parks

Nate Johnson

“People in public don’t always think like a historian…so I can bring light to it. I get to make it exciting to people, I get to connect them to what they see right in front of them, how Frederick Douglass’ objects and furnishings were there during his time, and I get to bring meaning to it.”

Program Attendance: 2010-2012

Career highlights:

  • Museum Specialist, Smithsonian National Museum of American History
  • Graduate assistantship, South Carolina Political Collection

Katharine Klein

“I would love to see more collaborations with established institutions…I really do think that we can make a stronger connection with the Smithsonian… with institutions on the West Coast. It would be great to see more students taking their internships out of state and also exploring, not just a collection of 10,000 or under 15,000 objects, but a collection that had millions.”

Program Attendance: 1975-1982

Career highlights:

  • Army Veteran
  • Intern, Old Salem Museums and Gardens
  • Employee, Old Salem Musuems and Gardens
  • Vice President, Restoration at Old Salem
  • Preservationist, Phillips and Opperman architectural firm
  • City Council

John Larson

“When I came and engaged material culture, my mind was already beginning to think about the other aspects of history other than the written part, that the objects would tell stories, and that that needed to be recovered and I found that incredibly interesting, to be able to look at things and think about how they were made, what they meant, how they were used, [and] why we discarded them.”

Program Attendance: 1999-2002

Career highlights:

  • Archival intern, Wisconsin Veterans Museum in Madison
  • Graduate assistant, South Caroliniana Library
  • United States Department of State’s Office of the Historian

Aaron Marrs

“[Working for the Department of State Office of the Historian] is public history in the sense that I’m in the public service…I am a civil servant myself, and my audience is the federal government, the work that I do will end up archived in the National Archives eventually for anyone to read who’s interested…then the people I’m informing are in turn executing public policy, for the citizens of this great country. I think that to that degree it is public history.”

Program Attendance: 2002-2005

Career highlights:

  • Intern, The Smithsonian Institute’s Anacostia Museum and Center for African American History and Culture (presently known as the Anacostia Community Museum)
  • Intern, Confederate Relic Room, Columbia SC
  • Intern, South Caroliniana Library
  • Processing Archivist, Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture at the College of Charleston

Georgette Mayo

“Many people at the time would ask, “Well, what are you going to do with [an African American Studies major], are you going to teach?” I always felt like there were more ways to teach people outside of being in a classroom, which was why I was very interested in the University’s Public History Program…I always wanted to know about not only history, but my history.”

Program Attendance: 2011-2013

Career highlights:

  • Lowcountry Digital History Initiative through the Lowcountry Digital Library at the College of Charleston

Amanda Noll

“I worked specifically with collections at McKissick and I did the Museum Management Certificate, so those classes were really helpful in kind of learning the nitty gritty about museums and even just examples of things I didn’t know I would need to know then—down to working with board members at non-profit organizations—has become helpful for me a couple of years down the line…”

Program Attendance: 2002-2005

Career highlights:

  • Preservation planner, City of Columbia Planning and Preservation Office

Staci Richey

“Internships are invaluable. I really encourage people to do as many as you can — as you can afford to do — since they’re usually not paid. Even just shadow for a day or even just do what your doing…interviewing someone or pick a job that you think you might be interested in and just call them up and say I can come see what you do or attend a public meeting that we do. Those are practical things you can do. Another thing I think is looking at other — looking at what groups are doing that you like.”

Program Attendance: 1976-1989

Career highlights:

  • Curator, tour guide, grant writer, and exhibitition designer, Pendleton SC District Commission

Donna Roper

“I’ve always liked to read over people’s letters, so that was fun. I like to make lists and organize…I enjoyed getting family papers and going through and cataloguing them, and inventorying them, and putting them in our research room so people could actually use them…”

Director, 1981-1990

Michael Scardaville

Director, 1990-2008

  • UofSC Professor
  • Editor, The Pinckney Papers

Constance Schulz

“We not only have a responsibility to train, to educate people, to create historians out of lovers of history. But to create historians who have the skills and the knowledge in the areas of the public arena where they’re going to be functioning as historians.”

Program Attendance: 2002-2004

Career highlights:

  • Archivist, Chuck Hagel Papers and documents at the University of Nebraska, Omaha
  • Archivist, South Carolina Political Collections, University of South Carolina

Lori Schwartz

“Practicing for our classes is great but if you can squeeze in an internship you can volunteer somewhere or whatever you can do cause that gets you experience working with people on different kinds of projects. Shows you how different places operate. I ended up staying with my graduate assistantship the whole three years and I’m very grateful that I did cause I got increasing responsibilities over those years.”

Program Attendance: 1996-1998

Career highlights:

  • Director of Cultural Resources, Historic Columbia
  • National Air and Space Museum
  • Elizabeth Perkins Fellow, Old York Historical Society
  • Executive Committee Member, South Carolina Federation of Museums

John Sherrer

“Public history isn’t ‘history light’, it is legitimate history, it is I think a way of approaching history that can be very demanding and it can be very critical to really what it’s all about, and that is the people…But my issue has always been that there needn’t be a gap between public historians and traditional historians.”

Program Attendance: 1996-1999

Career highlights:

  • Strawbery Banke Museum, New Hampshire
  • Project Assistant, Director and Associate editor, Papers of Eliza Lucas Pinckney and Harriott Pinckney Horry, Pinckney Papers Project

Mary Sherrer

“History is this very emotional, personal, thing to people and if you’re gonna come in and tell someone’s story, they have to trust you and they have to believe that you know what you’re doing and that you’re not gonna mistake…what they have in their mind is history. As a public historian, that was a very good education for me.”

Program Attendance: 2002-2004

Career highlights:

  • Assistantship, Curator of Temporary Exhibitions and Design, McKissick Museum
  • Director/curator, Exhibitions, Louisville Slugger Museum
  • Director, Clarke County Historical Association

Nathan Stalvey

“Honestly, within one week I knew this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. That — I just knew. It was sixteen years ago and it really has not deviated at all from that. I just knew — It was a way to connect history to people. I love talking and I love presenting history in an engaging way. I really — I’m very passionate about how important history plays in our society and how important it is for people to understand and know their history being the local history, national history, world history.”

Program Attendance: 2001-2003

Career highlights:

  • Archivist (private)
  • Senior curator, Museum of South Texas History

Barbara Stokes


Program Attendance: 1992-1995 

Career highlights:

  • Director of International Communications, American Red Cross
  • Graphein Communication
  • Intern, Historic Columbia

Jana Sweeny

“Volunteer management, fundraising, and public affairs are universal — it doesn’t matter if you are working for a nonprofit that focuses on history, if you’re with a museum, if you’re working on a disease, if it’s animals… Whatever it is those skills are universal in the nonprofit world.”

Program Attendance: 1999-2002

Career highlights:

  • Processing archivist, South Caroliniana Library
  • South Carolina State Archives
  • Teacher, Richland and Cherokee Counties, SC

Rose Thomas

“I find it very rewarding to get to see somebody else’s life work. It doesn’t have to be, when I say life’s work, it doesn’t have to be working in the public, but just a house wife or a homemaker whose papers, letters written to family members, what she’s received, or what she has written. To go through and see how her life was…I enjoy doing that. I’m afraid I get caught up in it.”

Program Attendance: 1995-1997

Career highlights:

  • Assistant Professor and Director of the Public History Program, University of Louisville
  • Historian, National Register of Historic Places
  • National Park Service
  • Assistantship, South Carolina State House

Daniel Vivian

“Historians are not going to do very well, and the profession is not doing very well by only speaking to other historians. We’ve got to connect, and the notion that you can’t do that until you are at least an associate professor or a big name in the field and then you can write for popular audiences is just a bogus self-limiting view…”

Director, 1992-2014

  • UofSC Professor
  • National Council on Public History, President 2012-2014

Robert (Bob) Weyeneth

“You have to know something about reading landscape or architecture. You have to know something about preservation law. You have to understand the bureaucracy. So, in some ways, I like to say that being a public historian is twice the work. We’re training you first and foremost, of course, to be very good historians; but then we’re training you, too, to have the skills to operate in the museum sector or the historic preservation sector.”

Program Attendance: 2009-2011

Career highlights:

  • Assistantship, Thomas Cooper Library Digital Collections
  • Assistantship, Teaching American History South Carolina program
  • Internship, Nantucket Historical Association
  • Volunteer, Historic Columbia
  • Educational aide and Sacerdote Chair of Education, Nantucket Historical Association
  • Education Outreach Manager, The Mob Museum

Claire White

“It’s important to advocate for the ability for public history students to use their skills in other fields and not let that be a disappointment…You don’t have to be a museum or an archivist or a preservation officer. You can be a writer. You can be a PR person. You can be all these things.”