Skidmore Saratoga Memory Project
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About the Project: Public History

Public History Class

Professor Tillman Nechtman and student 

Professor Tillman Nechtman and his Public History class worked tirelessly over the spring 2019 semester to preserve the history of the Skidmore Nursing Program. Every student in the class was able to make personal, intimate connections, talking one-on-one to Skidmore Nursing alumni. Through their own stories, we were able to see the impact this program had on all of the nursing alumni. It has been an honor for the public history students to start this collection, which will continue to grow and will ensure the Skidmore Nursing program will not be forgotten by this college.

In summer 2019, Grace Heath, 2019, collaborated with Prof. Nechtman to create this online resource sharing the oral histories of the alumni and the class research. 

Public History Class

Jane Kjaer, Special Collections Curator, with student.

Public History is a relatively new academic field starting to gain popularity among history majors, American Studies majors, Anthropology and many others interested in pursuing history in their post grad work. Public history work seeks to bring history to life beyond a school or college setting.  Many projects are collaborations between people with and without training in historical research methods who generally seek to present their work and reach an audience outside of academic settings. The practice often involves learning and using many different skills such as historic preservation, archival sciences, oral histories, museum curatorship, and many other fields.

Skidmore College's Department of History has offered Introduction to Public History since 2012, and now offers two more focused classes, Oral History and Archival Storytelling, to deliver courses that blend theory and practice in the four key elements and with projects that connect students to local, national and international practitioners and collections.

Public History Class

1.) Use of methods of the historical discipline 

2.) An emphasis on the usefulness of historical knowledge in some way that goes beyond purely academic or antiquarian purposes

3.) An emphasis on professional training and practice

4.) An aim to deepen and empower public connection with the past