Public History Practicum Reflection

Last semester, I had the opportunity as a senior Public History major to research a topic of my choice and to create a small digital exhibit based off of it for HIS 440, Public History Practicum.

This project was something I was excited to do, as I had recently come off of working at a summer internship at the Anthracite Heritage Museum, which gave me many different ideas for a topic to focus on. Inspired by my visits at Eckley Miner’s village during my internship, and learning about women who practiced herbal medicine, I decided to focus my project on women healers and herbalists.

The topic of women in medicine is very broad, so I decided that I wanted to do a brief overview of the impact of women in medicine and their role as caretakers and healers over time.

I started my project by meeting with Dr. Black and discussing the types of resources, both primary and secondary, that I might want to use. We also discussed potential objects to be used in the exhibit, as well as how they would be situated in the context of the topic itself. She also provided me with handouts that were helpful for planning, writing for, and laying out an exhibit so that it would be easily accessible, understandable, and not confusing to readers.

I finished out my project by finalizing my objects for the digital exhibit, writing object analyses for three of my items, and finishing all the texts (such as introductions to each topic and labels).

I do wish that I could have gone more in depth in my digital exhibit, though, the topic was so broad and my timeline covered so many years that I did not think it would be possible to do so without making the exhibit seem more like a research paper. However, I enjoyed being able to focus on a topic of my choice and having total control of what I did with the exhibit. While I have some previous experience in creating small exhibits from my Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship two years ago, this built off of what I already learned and gave me some more idependence to choose my own topic of interest.

I enjoyed the experience and though it was a different way of expanding my knowledge on the topic. I feel that it definitely gave me a valuable experience and knowledge that I will be able to use for future projects.

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