Public History at Lehigh

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and surrounding area is a remarkable microcosm of North American history. From Native American settlement, colonial immigration, and religious utopia to the industrial revolution, steel making for world war, and de-industrialization – the Lehigh Valley provides an ideal environment for internships and careers in public history.

The Lehigh history department offers both undergraduate and graduate students a concentration in Public History, designed to provide the skills to make history accessible to the public in settings like museums, historical societies, and other non-profit institutions. In this program, students learn valuable vocational skills by hands-on application. Join us and you might find yourself writing an exhibit script using a grouping of artifacts, designing marketing materials for local history events, or creating engaging digital projects that are in high demand in the field.  


The Public History program requires an internship of 10 hours minimum. Students in the program have served internships, many of which led to careers, at the following institutions:

        Martha's Vineyard Museum                                   Colonial Williamsburg
        Ephrata Cloisters                                                   9/11 Memorial Museum
        Historic Bethlehem Museums and Sites                  Chicago Field Museum
        Moravian Historical Society & Archives                   National Park Service
        Red Mill Museum                                                   Northampton Historical & Genealogical Society
        Lehigh County Heritage Center                              Lehigh University Library & Art Galleries
        Pennsbury Manor                                                   Philadelphia Museum of Art

Requirements for the Concentration in Public History

History majors may earn a concentration in Public History by completing a total of 16 hours in the following courses:

HIST 305 Public History (required) 4
HIST 306 Internship in Public History (required) 4
Select at least two of the following: 8
Introduction to Museum Work  
Museums: Research, Collections Management and Exhibition Planning  
Special Topics in Museum and Curatorial Studies  
Museum Internship  
Bethlehem and the Lehigh Valley  
HIST 337 History and Community Memory  
Techniques in Public History (2-4 credits, may be repeated for up to 8 credits)  
Managing Nonprofit Organizations  
Total Credits 16


Requirements for the Graduate Certification

Students may earn an M.A. in History with a concentration in Public History by completing a total of 36 hours of approved course work, including a minimum of 10 credits and maximum of 12 credits in approved Public History courses.

HIST 305 Public History (required) 3
HIST 306 Internship in Public History (required but may be waived for equivalent experience) 3
HIST 336 Bethlehem and the Lehigh Valley 3-4
HIST 337 History and Community Memory 3-4
ART 370 Special Topics in Museum and Curatorial Studies 1-4
HIST 339 Managing Nonprofit Organizations 3-4
HIST/ANTH 370 Historical Archeology 3-4
HIST 438 Techniques in Public History (2 or 3 credits; may be repeated for up to 8 credits) 2-3
Total Credits 15-21


For further information, please contact:
Professor Kim Carrell-Smith