HS 7301A: Public History Methods (Conceptualizing Capstone Project) - Spring 2019

St. Mary's University logo

Course Information

Instructor Information

Dr. Lindsey Passenger Wieck (LWieck [at] stmarytx. edu)

Office Hours
Mon & Thurs 5-6:15PM; Mon: 11AM-12:30PM; Tues: 10-11AM or schedule an appointment.

Office Location
Chaminade Tower 500 - Department of History

Office Phone

Course Details

Class Time & Location
6:30-9:15PM Monday, Garni Science Hall 109

Twitter hashtag

Fixed Deadlines
Methods Toolkit by the start of class each week

Weekly Windup by the start of class each week

  • Publicly Historians: Our Blog
  • Log in for Publicly Historians
  • StMU History Media
  • Log in for StMU History Media
  • Course Texts

    Required Books:

    Jack Hart, Storycraft: The Complete Guide to Writing Narrative Non-Fiction (2012) | kindle, paperback

    Andrew G. Kirk and Kristian Purcell, Doom Towns: The People and Landscapes of Atomic Testing, A Graphic History (2016) | paperback

    David B. Allison, ed., Controversial Monuments & Memorials: A Guide for Community Leaders (2018) | see email for discount code via Rowman: paperback | ebook

    All other readings:
    Other readings and resources will be available here or via Canvas.

    Course Description & Objectives

    This course offers an extended focus on the methods of Public History, building on the conceptual knowledge gained in the Introduction to Public History course. Students will learn strategies for and practice using techniques including, but not limited to, oral history, museums/archives, and digital publishing. Students will also learn about concepts important across public history fields including grant writing, communication and publicity, and education and accessibility. In this course, students will work toward creating a proposal for a capstone project to be completed alongside or as part of their internship. Required before internship.
    Upon the successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

    • Develop skills and experience with an assortment of public history methodologies including writing for public audiences, writing grants, managing projects, doing oral history, and working with different types of historical materials.
    • Interact with and critically assess a variety of public history collections including museums, websites, and digital repositories.
    • Develop a proposal for a capstone project to be completed alongside or separate from the student’s internship (and/or continue your project from your first semester).
    • Create a portfolio and other professional materials, and prepare to apply for internships.
    • Learn how to identify and measure the meaning and impact of public history activities.
    Skills you'll practice in this course:
    • Public speaking
    • Working collaboratively with peers and community partners
    • Networking and developing professional skills; developing portfolio and professional materials
    • Posing historical questions; finding & analyzing primary and secondary sources; citing sources
    • Using digital tools for storytelling
    • Grantwriting
    • Continued use of social media to connect with other public historians, as well as promoting projects for communities & stakeholders

    Adult typing on a typewriter


    Date & Topics Read & Prepare for Class Assignments

    Week 1: M 1/7

    No Class - Prep for next week


    Week 2: M 1/14

    Topics: Course introduction; Storytelling; Finding Compelling Stories


    This semester you'll be writing two narrative non-fiction articles for the StMU History Media project. For each article, you will produce a project proposal and complete research, consult with at least two experts (this could include Necia Wolff (librarian) and a content/methods expert), write the article, and revise it several times with my feedback. By the end of this class, you'll have two really strong, polished pieces of writing, in addition to other projects for your portfolio.

    Before class, please read & do the following:

    DO Look for your StMU History Media username & password in your email (check your spam/junk folders). Log in here, change your password, and add a photo of yourself. | Tutorial on logging in & making your first comments

    READ Jack Hart, StoryCraft, Introduction + Chapters 1, 2, 3, and 5. (pages 1-61, 75-88). This is a book about writing narrative nonfiction, which will help you structure these articles. This book will help you become more reflective in your writing choices and style, as well as strengthening your writing skills in general.

    READ Read and comment on each of these StMU History Media articles, which are all strong examples of descriptive articles. Comment on each article, and your comment should be at least 75 words (approx) and substantive. Make sure you are logged in when you are commenting

    ***Note: You won't have to remember the content of these articles, but pay attention to how they are organized, their narrative arc, and how the author tells the story.***

    WATCH StMU History Media: How-To Videos. These videos will prepare you to start your first project proposal (due 1/19), as well as walking you through important information about citations and the research process (about 90 minutes total)

    THINK You will be writing a long descriptive article for this site (1500-2000 words). Your project proposal will be due 1/19, and the topic is open. It should have a historical component with a narrative arc (like in Ch 2 of StoryCraft). Your story should be a small, manageable story: For example, write the story of Teddy Roosevelt's coconut at the Alamo, rather than a history of the entire Alamo. Start thinking about what you'll want to write about, and how the descriptive article format can help you tell a story in this way.

    REFLECT How might this style of writing be useful to you as a public historian?

    WEEKLY WINDUP StMU History Media Comments on articles listed above



    Week 3: M 1/21

    No Class: MLK Jr. Day

    READ Read and Comment on the following StMU History Media Articles. Comments should be 75+ words and substantive.

    WEEKLY WINDUP StMU History Media Comments on articles listed above

    METHODS TOOLKIT include Storycraft readings from first week + notes from select StMU Hist Media posts this week or last week; you might note articles with strong narrative arcs, great introductions, excellent use of images, for example, as your inspiration. Be sure to include citations!

    Project Proposal for article draft

    Week 4: M 1/28

    Topics: Storytelling via Narrative Non-Fiction; StMU History Media Project

    READ Jack Hart, StoryCraft, chapters 6, 7, and 11 (pgs. 89-126, 163-182)

    READ Read and Comment on the following StMU History Media Articles. Comments should be 75+ words and substantive.

    WEEKLY WINDUP StMU History Media Comments on articles listed above

    METHODS TOOLKIT Storycraft readings + notes from select StMU Hist Media posts

    Deadline: Project Proposal approval

    Start Article 1 Draft

    Week 5: M 2/4

    Topics: Storytelling; Writing Journalistic Explanatory Articles

    Guest Speaker: Penelope Boyer

    There are two kinds of explanatory article types on StMU History Media: Journalistic (layer cake model) and Academic (traditional academic paper with thesis). We'll also be writing a Journalistic Explanatory article later this semester. Our Hart reading for today will talk about this Journalistic Explanatory model (Ch 12), as well as a few other models you might find useful in other contexts (Ch 13). We'll also be reading some exemplary journalistic explanatory articles from StMU History Media. This shouldn't impact your current descriptive article you are writing, but should help you start thinking ahead for later in the semester.

    READ Jack Hart, StoryCraft, chapters 12-14 (pgs. 183-240)

    READ Read and Comment on the following StMU History Media Articles. Comments should be 75+ words and substantive.

    DO Continue working your Descriptive article draft

    WEEKLY WINDUP StMU History Media Comments on articles listed above

    METHODS TOOLKIT Storycraft readings + notes from select StMU Hist Media posts


    Week 6: M 2/11

    Topics: Oral History & Community History

    READ Tammy S. Gordon, “Community Exhibition: History, Identity, and Dialogue,” Private History in Public: Exhibition and the Settings of Everyday Life (Lanham: AltaMira Press, 2010). (pdf on Canvas)

    READ Lauren Gutterman, “OutHistory.org: An Experiment in LGBTQ Community History­ Making,” The Public Historian (32:4) (2010), 96-109. (PDF on canvas)

    READ Mark Tebeau, “Listening to the City: Oral History and Place in the Digital Era.” Oral History Review 40, no. 1 (January 1, 2013): 25–35. (pdf on canvas)

    READ OHA General Principles for Oral Histories

    READ Doug Boyd, Designing an Oral History Project: Initial Questions to Ask Yourself - Dr. Wieck will divide up the sections. Read your section and investigate further in preparation for a 5 minute presentation for this class. Please prepare a short handout in the style of your methods log and upload it to Google Drive to share with the class (see canvas for link).

    METHODS TOOLKIT Be sure to include citations and include ALL readings.

    WEEKLY WINDUP 5-minute Presentation and 1/2-page Handoutin Methods-Toolkit-style for Peers on OHDA articles on Google Drive

    Deadline: Descriptive Article Draft Due  you will have 2 weeks to complete revisions to get this article published.

    Week 7: M 2/18

    Topics: Oral History & Community History

    Guest speaker?

    READ Barbara W. Sommer and Mary Kay Quinlan, The Oral History Manual, p. 11-13, 17-61, 118-125, see canvas.

    DO Listen to Oral Histories and Analyze - Choose an oral history from one of these collections: 1) Rosie the Riveter WWII American Homefront Project, 2) Center for Oral History, University of Hawaii Manoa, 3) Bracero History Archive (many interviews may be bilingual), 4) Archives of Lesbian Oral Testimony

    WEEKLY WINDUP Oral History Analysis and Review on Publicly Historians submit 500 word review on canvas discussion board + short in-class presentation.


    Oral History Project Proposal 

    Week 8: M 2/25

    Topics: Oral History & Community History

    Activities: Presentations on Digital Sites; Peer Editing of Oral History Forms


    EXPLORE Review one of these sites (assigned by Dr. Wieck) and choose at least one more to briefly explore.

    WEEKLY WINDUP Oral History Site Review on Publicly Historians blog + short in-class presentation.


    Oral History Forms & Questions due 

    Week 9: M 3/4

    Topics: Project Management

    READ Bethany Nowviskie, “Ten Rules for Humanities Scholars New to Project Management”

    READ Brian Croxall, “12 Basic Principles of Project Management”

    READ Sharon Leon, “Project Management for Humanists”

    WATCH Project Management Videos - TBD

    WEEKLY WINDUP Abstract for Capstone Project + first set of project management documents (list TBD)


    Project Proposal for Explanatory Article 

    Week 10: M 3/11

    Spring Break - NO CLASS - ENJOY!

      Oral History Audio Files 

    Week 11: M 3/18

    Topics: Grant-Writing and Project Management

    Guest speaker?

    READ Suzanne Fischer, “Developing your Synthetic Powers,” History@Work, (March 13, 2015)

    READ AASLH Technical Leaflet, Building Better Budgets (pdf on canvas)

    WATCH Writing a Grant: What's the Process Like (1:09) (access via AASLH)

    WATCH Project Management Videos - TBD

    WEEKLY WINDUP Second set of project management documents (list TBD)


    Oral History Transcription 1 

    Start writing explanatory article

    Week 12: M 3/25

    Topics: Grant-Writing and Project Management

    READ Sonya D. Levine, Taking Public History for Granted: A Grant-Writing Guide for Public Historians 

    WEEKLY WINDUP Draft of Grant for your capstone project (Wieck will provide template)


    Oral History Mini-Project 

    Week 13: M 4/1

    Topics: When PH is Messy

    READ David B. Allison, ed., Controversial Monuments & Memorials: A Guide for Community Leaders (2018)

    WATCH Choose an AASLH webinar on diversity & inclusion.



    Capstone Proposal: Project Management Mini-Project

    Week 14: M 4/8

    Topics: When PH is Messy

    READ David B. Allison, ed., Controversial Monuments & Memorials: A Guide for Community Leaders (2018)

    WEEKLY WINDUP Prepare presentation & handout on assigned piece of the reading


    Keep writing explanatory article 

    Week 15: M 4/15

    Topics: Alternative PH Methods

    READ Andrew G. Kirk and Kristian Purcell, Doom Towns: The People and Landscapes of Atomic Testing, A Graphic History



    Explanatory article draft 

    Week 16: M 4/22

    Easter Break - No Class

      Portfolio draft due 

    Week 17: M 4/29

    Topics: Preparing for your Internship & the Professional World

    Guest Speaker Panel?

    READ AASLH Technical Leaflet 281. Get to Work: Crafting Cover Letters and Résumés for Emerging Professionals

    READ AASLH Technical Leaflet 219: Breaking In: A Four Step Approach to Finding Your First Public History Job

    READ AASLH Technical Leaflet 261: Skills Most Valued for Entry-Level Professional Museum Positions



    Week 18: M 5/6   Final Projects Due: Explanatory article must be published. All other mini-project revisions due.



    Component Points
    Four Mini-ProjectsYou will submit drafts of these in incremental steps along the way. At the end of each project, you'll submit both a final and an annotated version. The annotated version allows you to reflect on the stylistic, methodological, and organizational choices that you made, while connecting your choices to the readings and resources referenced in this class or in other public history classes. Each annotation should include a note about a particular stylistic, methodological, and organizational choice that you made in the project.
    Mini-Project 1: Descriptive Article on StMU Hstory Media Skills/Methods: Narrative Nonfiction + Digital Storytelling; Research & Revision 75
    Mini-Project 2: Oral History Skills/Methods: Oral History, Community Engagement 75
    Mini-Project 3: Capstone Project Proposal Skills/Methods: Project Management and Grant Writing 75
    Mini-Project 4: Explanatory Article for StMU History Media Project Skills/Methods: Narrative Nonfiction + Digital Storytelling; Research & Revision 100
    Weekly Windup These activities (listed in the syllabus each week) are designed to help you engage with the readings & content. These assignments will be due before class each week, but you should also have a copy accessible in class. (5 pts / week, 13 weeks possible) 50
    Methods Toolkit You will log useful ideas related to methodologies of historical research and writing, project management and grant writing, and advanced public history methodologies in your Methods Toolkit. Because you'll be annotating your four mini-projects, this assignment provides you with a bank of items that you might reference later in your annotations for this course, as well as in your future courses, internship & capstone project, and public history work. Dr. Wieck will provide examples of what this might look like. These assignments will be due before class each week, but you should also have a copy accessible in class. (5 pts / week, 12 weeks possible) 50
    Portfolio In this class, you'll develop and submit a portfolio of your work so far in this program, along with revised resume & linkedin portfolios. Several options will be discussed in class. 75
    Total 500

    Grading Scale

    Letter Grades are comprised of points earned.
    Grade Points
    A 471
    A- 446
    B+ 431
    B 416
    B- 396
    C+ 376
    C 346
    D 300
    F 299 or less

    The course will adhere to St. Mary's University grading scale: Undergraduate Grading Policies & Graduate Grading Policies

    Class Policies


    Courtesy & Attendance
    My goal is for us to create a constructive learning environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing ideas and participating regularly. Therefore, I expect you to come on time and stay for the entire class period, listen attentively while others are speaking, and respect opinions other than your own. Chronic tardiness or absences will result in the lowering of your grade. This course adheres to St. Mary's University Attendance Policy - Students may receive a zero for any work missed due to an unexcused absence, and may be dropped for missing an equivalent of two weeks of classes.

    Laptops and Mobile Devices
    Please feel free to use any device that makes your participation in class discussions easier. It is expected that students of this class will use technology during class to take notes, experiment/work (during appropriate class times), refer to digital readings, show examples, etc. It is also expected that these technologies will not be used during class for purposes outside the scope of the class, including instant messaging (including with classmates), e-mail, social media (outside of the use as examples to particular arguments), etc. Please do not leave your cell phones on audible ring, and barring emergencies, do not take or make phone calls during class. The right to use such technologies in the classroom may be revoked at any time by the professor. Additionally, tech-free or screens-down classes will be employed throughout the semester during which time no technology may be used in the class. Headphones are prohibited from this classroom unless a student requires them for accomodations.

    Respect in Class and Online
    Because you will be given many opportunities to interact in person and online, please respect each other. No bullying or disrespect will be tolerated. If you are experiencing any problems, please let the instructor know, and we can work together to resolve any issues. Classroom discussion is meant to allow us to hear a variety of viewpoints. This can only happen if we respect each other and our differences.

    Child Care
    Parenting should not restrict your access to class. If there is an emergency that causes an immediate change to your child care plans for that day, you are invited to bring your child to class. Please be prepared to step out with your child if needed.

    Social Media
    On all social media accounts used in this course (blogs, Twitter), students are expected to uphold professional standards that meet university and professional codes of conduct.

    Assignments / Grading

    Due Dates
    Late work will not be accepted. Assignments submitted late will automatically receive no credit/zero points. Exceptions to this policy may occur in very rare cases (e.g. personal emergency or severe medical situations). These cases must be documented to my satisfaction and you must contact me before the due date.

    THREE Late Passes
    With that said, I know things can get stressful during the semester, and to help you do your best work, I offer two late passes. Each student will get 1 week/pass that they can "spend" with each of these two passes. You can not use these on your final project deadline. To use this, email me before the assignment is due, letting me know you are using it.

    Honor Code
    I take the university Honor Code very seriously, and I expect the same from you. Please make sure you are familiar with the guidelines regarding academic honesty, plagiarism, cheating, etc. The graded work you do in this class must be your own. In the case where you collaborate with other students make sure to fairly attribute their contribution to your project. Be sure to cite your sources to avoid issues of plagiarism and dishonesty. See me immediately if you have questions or doubts about what constitutes academic dishonesty, especially plagiarism. If an assignment is plagiarized in part or in full, the student receives a failing grade on that assignment and the incident will be reported to the Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

    Study Days and Exam Days Policy
    There will be two study days (November 28 and November 29) during which students prepare for final exams. No classes should be scheduled on study day; optional review sessions can be held. Final exams will be held on November 29 for Thursday night classes, November 30 through December 5th. The final exam schedule can be found under Related Links (last item on the list).

    Controversial Content
    During this course you may encounter a range of topics to which you may experience strong reactions. It is important to keep an open mind and be respectful of others, as this will help to facilitate the discussion about content, audience, and purpose. If you feel uncomfortable with certain materials (such as references to violence or sex) or inappropriate language, please let me know and we can make accommodations or discuss other learning opportunities.


    If you have any questions or concerns throughout the semester, please see or call me immediately. I am here to help you learn, but it is your responsibility to address any issues you have concerning course content, assignments, and classroom dynamics. Do not risk your grade; if you are having problems, please come and talk me before it is too late.

    Syllabus Modifications
    This syllabus will serve as our guide throughout the semester, but may change, particularly as we identity digital skills we would like to pursue throughout the semester. I will alert you to any major changes made.

    University Policies
    St. Mary’s University is committed to providing a safe, equitable, and fair environment where students can pursue academic excellence. Policies and procedures have been developed to foster and sustain such an environment and apply to all courses offered at the
university. Students need to be aware of these policies and procedures, which can be found in Gateway, and within the “University Policies” tab of your course assigned Canvas page. Please become familiar with these important policies and procedures, which include:
  • Nondiscrimination, Sexual and Other Forms of Harassment
  • Students with Disability
  • Human Subjects Research.
  • Acknowledgments and license
    This syllabus borrows ideas/readings/wording from other history classes, including those taught by Rebecca S. Wingo and Leisl Carr Childers.
    This syllabus and all assignments are copyrighted © 2019 Lindsey Wieck and licensed CC-Non-Commercial BY 4.0. You are free to use or modify this syllabus for any non-commercial purpose, provided that you attribute it to the author, preferably at the course website listed above.


    Digital History Tools

    Carto - Mapping Big Data, Animating Time

    StoryMap JS - Mapping and Storytelling; integrating primary sources into maps

    Timeline JS

    Great Examples of Digital History Projects

    Stanford Spatial History Project

    Slate - 5 Great DH projects from 2015

    Cameron Blevins, Geography of the Post

    Making Maps / Doing Digital History

    The Programming Historian

    Workshops and other Resources by Lincoln Mullen

    Rice Digital History Resource Guides