UNA Pressroom

Una's M.a. In Public History Is First In The State

Aug. 06, 2015

Michelle Eubanks, UNA, at media@una.edu, 256.765.4392 or 256.606.2033

By Bryan Rachal, University Communications

FLORENCE, Ala. - A project started in the fall of 2012 has now finally come to fruition for the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Alabama. Beginning fall 2015, UNA will offer the first M.A. in public history in the state of Alabama.

The new master's program will offer two tracks: Historic Preservation and Historical Administration, the latter of which will focus more on jobs working with archives and museums. The goal is to give students a strong background in the traditional field of history, while also allowing them to take a broader range of public history courses. In addition, students in the program will take courses within the College of Business, which will help develop and strengthen leadership and management skills.

"The new M.A. in public history at UNA will help to create the next generation of archivists, museum curators and administrators, and historic preservationists in the state of Alabama and the Southeast region," said Dr. Carolyn Barske, coordinator of UNA's public history program.

"During their time in the program, students will make valuable contributions to communities across the state as they help to develop oral history projects, design museum exhibits and educator resource packets, aid in the creation of cultural resource surveys, and complete National Register of Historic Places nomination forms," she said. "We are very excited to be a part of a growing public history community in the state of Alabama."

Barske and other faculty members worked diligently with the Alabama Historical Commission, the Alabama Department of Archives and History, and other state and local agencies and organizations to create a program that was rewarding both in terms of knowledge and job opportunities. Because of that, students with an M.A. in public history from UNA will have the skill set and knowledge to put that training to work for a variety of agencies and organizations, such as the ones listed above.

Four students have already graduated with an M.A. from the department, with a concentration in public history, with another set to graduate in August. Their current employers include the Alabama Bicentennial Commission, the Alabama Department of History and Archives, and the Des Plaines Public Library. Many students in the program have completed or are currently working at internships and assistantships with the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area, the Florence-Lauderdale Public Library Digital Archives, Fort Morgan, Pond Springs, the General Joe Wheeler Home, the Collier Library Archives and Special Collections, The Frank Lloyd-Wright/Rosenbaum House, the Tennessee River Museum, the Tennessee Valley Historical Society, Heritage Preservation, Inc., the Alabama Bicentennial Commission, the City of Florence Department of Arts and Museums, the Sacred Way Sanctuary, Belle Mont, and the American Battlefield Protection Program.

Dr. Matthew Barlow will be joining the department in August 2015 to aid Dr. Barske with the development of the new public history MA. Dr. Barlow's research interests in landscape and memory and his experience as a public history practitioner will be huge assets to the new program.

For more information on the University of North Alabama Public History program or Public History Center: https://www.una.edu/history/public-history/


The University of North Alabama is an accredited, comprehensive regional state university offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs through the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Education and Human Sciences, and Nursing. Occupying a 130-acre campus in a residential section of Florence, Alabama, UNA is located within a four-city area that also includes Tuscumbia, Sheffield and Muscle Shoals. UNA also operates a renowned collegiate athletic program in NCAA Division II's Gulf South Conference. The University of North Alabama is an equal opportunity institution and does not discriminate in the admission policy on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, disability, age or national origin. http://www.una.edu/