Public History and Archival Administration

Individuals wishing to work in public history or archival administration generally need a graduate degree in library and information science or public history. Read on to learn about some of the educational and vocational options available in this field.

Inside Public History and Archival Administration

Public history and archival administration professionals are typically charged with preserving and displaying historical records in such a way that allows people to engage with these artifacts without damaging them. Public historians typically become experts within a specific historical area or time period in correlation with the public records from that era. Archival administrators learn basic library sciences techniques in addition to specific skills pertaining to the handling and preservation of very old documents and artifacts, as well as cutting-edge techniques for storing and retrieving digital information.

Education Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that archivists generally receive a master's degree in library sciences, often with a concentration in an archival specialty, such as archival administration (www.bls.gov). According to the Society of American Archivists, most positions require a graduate degree, with employment in academia often requiring a Ph.D. (www2.archivists.org). For those seeking employment as curators, the BLS recommends a master's degree in the area of the museum's focus, such as history. Public historians generally receive graduate degrees in history with a concentration or certificate in public history, although a few master's degree programs specifically in public history do exist. The following articles outline a few relevant educational options:

Distance Learning Options

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