Our Mission

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The integration of “thinking” and “doing” is at the heart of public history. Established in 2000, the public history program at UNLV blends theory and from the seminar room to the field. Our program has 7 full time faculty with strong institutional support for public history teaching, research and fieldwork.

We specialize in historic and cultural landscape preservation, museums, material culture, and oral history. Our historic preservation programs emphasize the relationship between natural and built environments with a focus on the vast public lands that surround UNLV. Since the founding of the program in 2000 we’ve completed over 30 National Register Nominations, Cultural Landscape studies, Multiple Property Documents, Historic Resource Studies, Administrative Histories and Determinations of Eligibility throughout the Mojave and Great Basin region. The UNLV Public History program also has a unique and active partnership with the only statewide preservation organization in Nevada.  Preserve Nevada founded in 2000 with support from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

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Our graduate students complete internships and work in collaboration with a host of local museums and private collections including: The Mob Museum, The Liberace Foundation, The Hard Rock Hotel, Clark County Museum, and the Nevada State Museum. As part of our coursework, students have opportunities to curate and install exhibitions from the selection of objects and condition reporting to the placement of the final label and event programming. Our emphasis on material culture includes both how to care for and display objects and how to interpret their cultural meaning to the public.

We have four faculty with expertise in oral history. The Women’s Research Institute of Nevada (WRIN) ADD TWO SENTENCES ON WRIN HERE—Additionally, UNLV is home to the Southwest Oral History Association (SOHA) and the award winning Nevada Test Site Oral History Project (NTSOP) [FORMAT AS LINK] and public history graduate students are active participants in all aspects of the administration of SOHA and the research programs of the NTSOP.

The Public History Program actively collaborates with experts and organizations at UNLV, in the larger Las Vegas community, with Federal and State Partners and beyond. While we emphasize practical experience, our program is intellectually rigorous, and students are expected to read, discuss, and produce academic scholarship. Public history students hail from diverse backgrounds — law, the social sciences, the performing arts, public health, education, business—but they share a common goal: to move beyond the confines of the traditional historical inquiry and application. Our students learn to analyze and interpret history for the benefit of the very people who make it and live it.