|L to R: Public History graduate students Abby Kirstein, Carrie Hadley, Lauren Van Zandt, Elyse Grasser at the 2015 National Council on Public History Annual Conference, Nashville, TN|
Our students do some pretty amazing things during their time with us, and we want to feature them here on our blog. Most recently, we introduced you to Lauren Van Zandt, a second-year Public History graduate student who presented some of her research at a national conference.
Now we'd like to introduce you to Carrie Hadley. Carrie is also a second-year Public History graduate student who will be graduating next week. (Congratulations, Carrie!)
Earlier this month, Carrie had the extraordinary opportunity of presenting her scholarly research at the National Council on Public History's annual conference, where the attendees are primarily professionals in the field of Public History (e.g. curators, archivists, museum professionals, etc.).
We asked Carrie to tell us a little bit about how she ended up getting to go to the conference, as well as her experience while there.
|Abby Kirstein and Carrie Hadley in Boot Country|
The National Council on Public History is an association for anyone interested in presenting history to the public. In my humble, Public History Master’s student opinion, membership to NCPH is an absolute must for anyone looking to get into the field. A few weeks ago, I had the incredible opportunity to attend the NCPH’s annual conference in Nashville, Tennessee. And not just attend—I was chosen to present research during the poster session! It was an incredible experience, and I can’t wait to go to next year’s conference!
A group of other Public History Graduate Students—Abby Kirstein, Lauren Van Zandt, who also presented during the poster presentation, and Elyse Grasser— and I made the 9-hour drive down to Nashville from Pittsburgh. Our Public History-filled weekend started with a visit to Mammoth Cave NationalPark—we had been driving for a while, saw signs for it, and thought, “why not?!” It was a great way to break up the trip, and as any public historian knows, one can never go wrong with a pit stop at a National Park!
|Carrie at Mammoth Cave National Park|
Having presented at the Phi Alpha Theta conference last year at Slippery Rock University, this was my first multi-day conference, so I was not sure what to expect. I was a little intimidated walking into the conference hotel for the first time, but that quickly disappeared as I began interacting with friendly professionals and grad students. It was so nice to interact with people from all over the country—and some from all over the world!—with similar interests and goals. As someone who is about to graduate and looking for ways to get into the field, this was the perfect place for me to be!
|Tennessee State Capitol|
|The Parthenon (No, not the one in Athens!)|
Over the four days of the conference, I attended numerous panels of professionals and grad students discussing issues and work that was being performed in Public History today. These included discussions on a study of how people use “selfies” and social media in Holocaust concentration camp sites, how to interpret race at historic sites, and how to get a job in the Public History field. I received invaluable advice on how to improve my resume from a professional with the American Association of State and Local History, and took a class with two editors from The Papers of the Revolutionary Era Pinckney Statesmen project on historical documentary editing. There were great networking events, too, like “Speed Networking.” Here, instead of potential love interests, we had five 15 minute discussions with professionals in the field. One of the people I met with was a historian for the U.S. Senate—a job I never knew existed! It was a fun way to meet young professionals just starting out and veterans who had been in the field for years in a relaxed setting with lots of coffee.
|2nd Avenue shopping and restaurants|
My presentation at the poster session was very rewarding as well. I presented a project that had started as my term paper for Dr. Julia Sienkewicz’s American Painting and Sculpture class in the fall semester of 2013, and with the encouragement of Dr. S. and Dr. Alima Bucciantini, I decided to submit it for presentation at the conference—and was accepted! My presentation was on the painting Baptism of Pocahontas (1840), a painting that hangs in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol building, and the Public History issues that exist with its interpretation. During the presentation, I received incredible feedback, advice, encouragement, and support from a variety of professionals in the field, including employees of the Smithsonian’s National American History Museum and Library of Congress, and a few Native American scholars.
In our downtime, we had a great time visiting Nashville! We stopped at the Tennessee State Museum (naturally), visited a whiskey distillery (obviously), and took in a couple of live shows at a few bars in Nashville’s famous music district. The city was really walkable with delicious local restaurants, lively bars, and a nice shopping district. The city has a fascinating history too—therefore, what else is a public historian to do but take a Civil War walking tour?
|The Downtown Presbyterian Church, which was used as a hospital during the Civil War|
Overall, I had an amazing time at the National Council on Public History’s annual conference. I can’t encourage present and future Duquesne Public History students enough to join the NCPH and attend the annual conference! Since I was presenting, the Duquesne History Department graciously funded my trip, and I received incredible amounts of support from the Department faculty. The connections I made, the advice I received, and the conversations I had at NCPH were invaluable to me, and I know they will help me develop as a Public Historian.
|Carrie Hadley and Abby Kirsten enjoy some delicious milkshakes in Nashville.|