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Peru State to add public history certificate program

Julie Rach
Hamburg Reporter

The Nebraska State College System board approved the new Peru State College Public History certificate program during the June 16 meeting.

This program may interest students who plan to work in public history. Public history refers to public-facing positions such as museums, state and national parks, national monuments and social media.

Dr. Kathi Nehls is the assistant professor of history at Peru State College.

Nehls said, “Public history differs in significant ways from academic history. The audience is different—the general public rather than academics.”

“There is also a sense of shared authority and collaboration with other disciplines in public history that is not found in academic history.”

The new certificate will not only interest students preparing for graduate studies and public-facing positions in history, but also students in any public-facing position. The courses will prepare students for any job that includes responsibilities such as historical representation, public relations, curation, public policy or urban planning.

Courses will include hands-on, practical engagement through class activities, projects and required internships. Students will also work with social media and digital platforms. Digital platforms include uses for spatial history, virtual and in-person exhibits, crowdsourcing projects, online oral history projects and data-mining analysis.

The program requires 15 credits, including:

Hist 322 Introduction to Public History (3) (New Course)

Hist 324 Introduction to Museum and Archival Practices (3) (New Course)

PSCI/BUS 468 Public Administration (3)

Hist 411 Internship in Public History (6)

Nehls continues, “The program will allow us to work with local and regional historical sites and societies who frequently call on the Social Science faculty for student interns who are qualified to help with staffing and special projects.”

“Recently requests for interns have come from Peru, Brownville, Auburn, Nebraska City, the Homestead National Monument and Fort Sisseton State Park in South Dakota. We are very excited to offer this additional, marketable credential to Peru State students.”