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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Grad School Update

Well, it has been a while since I have been on here...time for an update!

Grad school has been a tough transition for me. Gone are the days of procrastinating on assignments and papers. I now actually have to plan out my week to make sure I get everything done that is needed. Even then I still have times where I scramble to get things finished.

I am currently at the University of West Georgia studying Public History with a concentration in War and Society during Colonial America, along with a Museum Studies Certificate. I am loving the history program and the people I get to "nerd-out" with, about cool things in history. I also found out that the History Department is a bunch of nerds that I actually fit into! Everything from Firefly to Doctor Who to video games and board games is talked about. Within the program, I am finding my niche of history and have decided that I would like to pursue a career in Historical Education and Interpretation focused on living history (think Colonial Williamsburg). This career would place me in direct connection with the public and it is my passion to help people learn about history and how to influences their lives today. I also want to make it fun to learn and enjoyable for people to experience. I found that I really enjoyed this during my Spring 2013 internship at the Hermitage, President Andrew Jackson's home close to Nashville, TN. I got to be in period clothing and give tours of the mansion and interact with tourists and schoolchildren. I still remember one day when one child asked me if I was Abraham Lincoln (the beard and top hat didn't help I'm sure) and I got to explain that I was not Lincoln but someone else and the clothing styles during the 1800s.
That kid made my day! Those little things make history so worthwhile to me that I cannot wait to have a full-time job in the Public History field.

Talking about jobs,
While studying here at UWG, I am also a graduate research assistant (GRA). I was originally hired on as a historian for the historical picture book project that the UWG Center for Public History is working on that coves the West Georgia Textile Heritage Trail. Well, a several weeks into the semester my co-worker Dustin who was the Director of the Trail applied for a local museum position and got it! This left me in line to fill his shoes - which were really big. I am now the Co-Director of the West Georgia Textile Trail with another one of my colleagues. I handle the emails and phone calls that come into the Center, I still work on the book some, I help organize events along the Trail, and generally do anything that falls between the cracks. One event that is coming up is a History Day in Dalton, GA where people come in and bring photos, letters, newspapers, and other things to be digitally scanned and stored in the Center's archives. We also interview people that come in and have stories about working in the textile mills and factories, or lived in the mill villages. I am also working with another student to plan the Trail's conference in April 2014 at the Hills & Dales estate in LaGrange, GA. This event will have speakers from all of West Georgia and Georgia government officials coming to speak. So the pressure is definitely on to plan this event right!

Well that is all for today. I am sure I'll have more to talk about soon. Lots of things to write about in grad school!

Let me know what you want to know more about in the comments below!

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