Public History Minor
Public History is about putting history to work in the world. It is history experienced by everyone- the history we encounter in museums, historic sites, Hollywood films, popular books, magazines and graphic novels, as well as in games and on websites. It is a commemorative plaque, a blockbuster movie, an episode of Vikings, an Assassin’s Creed computer game, a Heritage Minute, a tourism commercial, and the stories of our families and communities.
History is all around us, and there are many different ways to share it. Public History involves understanding the numerous ways in which people engage with the past and learning how to communicate it to larger audiences through a variety of tools, including exhibits, film, oral history, digital media, and historic sites.
The first of its kind in Canada, the Public History Minor is an interdisciplinary joint program between Western, Huron University College, and King’s University College. The Minor is a great way to gain both academic training and practical experience in bringing the past to life for your families, friends, and the wider world. This hands-on minor offers flexibility and convenience to help students build a more comprehensive well-rounded degree. It is also excellent preparation for Western University's MA in Public History.
In their courses, students can develop marketable skills and gain invaluable experience and contacts through group-work, presentations, networking, and collaboration with community partners through projects, workshops, guest speakers, site visits, and experiential learning opportunities.
Why Public History?
Public history equips our students for work and for life. In short, History matters.
Western's Public History minor will assist students seeking careers in museums, archives, and in cultural and heritage organizations.
History is not just about going to museums or watching documentaries. It’s about how people engage with the past & build meaning in terms of our lives as individuals & communities.
History is constantly being created – all around us, all the time – by people and communities. I want students to engage with public history and recognize why history matters.
Public history is a powerful tool for understanding the forces that shape our world, and for making informed decisions as engaged, responsible citizens
Dr. Robert Ventresca.
Public history is putting history to work in the world. It’s about raising historical consciousness among people by telling stories that engage and inform.
Public History is brilliant because it allows you to work with community partners and gain the practical experience needed to find a job after graduation.
Studying public history in my undergraduate years provided me with the necessary foundation to turn my passion for history into a marketable skill set.
Thomas Van Dewark
Now pursuing a museum career, exposure to public history opened my eyes to how I could apply my love of history outside of traditional academia.