What is public history and where can we find public history?

What is public history? Public history is a term that is often bandied about, but it can be difficult to develop a succinct definition. A good place to start is by consulting the National Council on Public History (NCPH).  To quote the NCPH:

Perhaps, though, one should think about Public History as history occurring outside the classroom walls. This allows history to be consumed by the general public. If we think about public history as a means of presenting historical knowledge to a general public, it can take many different forms. If we think of public history as history occurring outside of the classroom for public consumption, it becomes even accessible to the public.

According to the NCPH, public history is used:

A great discussion on Public History can be found on the podcast Historically Thinking. Episode 41: Putting the “Public” in Front of “History” is a great introduction to the topic and can be found here.

Where can we find public history? Some places include: museums, documentaries, podcasts, historic preservation projects, oral history projects, historic house tours, historical societies, historic battlefields, community projects, family history, etc.

Who does Public History? As the NCPH notes on their website public historians come in many different forms. Some examples of public historians are historical consultants, government historians, archivists, historical preservationists, curators, film and media producers, and many others.


Reference: “What is Public History? About the field,” National Council on Public History http://ncph.org/what-is-public-history/about-the-field/