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The New Public History Internship

The New Public History Internship

The question is a common one: what can I do with a _____________ degree?

Many degrees, particularly in the liberal arts, have a variety of options upon graduation as the skills learned and developed through the degree prepare students to be well rounded and prepared for a variety of industries. One of these programs is History.

It is not uncommon for a student to get a History degree and go into education. But what if a student loves history, but doesn’t necessarily want to get into teaching? One option is Public History, a new path for some of the history students at Tennessee Wesleyan University.

History students interested in this area complete an internship in an area of Public History, which can prepare them for unique careers in areas like libraries, museums, archives, and more.

Savannah York (pictured) was the first to complete the Public History Internship, working at the Holston Conference Archives before graduating in 2021. She is now attending Simmons University in Boston, studying a dual degree History and Library Science: Archives graduate program, while interning at the JFK Presidential Library.

Nikki Barnett (video below) graduated this past May, completing her Public History Internship at the McMinn County Living History Museum. She has continued her work this summer at the museum and is headed to Middle Tennessee State University this fall for their M.A. Public History program, one of the oldest public history graduate programs in the country. See more on her experience in a brief interview, right.

Lorna Schoemehl also helped continue TWU’s relationship with the Holston Conference, interning at the Archives before she heads to complete her master’s in history at the University of South Alabama.

“There are a lot of things you might not have considered that you can do with a history degree at Tennessee Wesleyan,” said Dr. Jack Seitz, Assistant Professor of History at TWU, “including working in public history. We’ve had other students attend law school and become lawyers and public prosecutors, as well as a significant number of history teachers, as well as students who go on to do all kinds of jobs in business, non-profit, or government. The skills you learn when you’re a history major at Tennessee Wesleyan will serve you well in a variety of fields.”

Dr. Jack Seitz talks with Nikki Barnett about her experience in the Public History Internship


Learn more about majoring in History at TWU.