Public History

What is Public History? The American National Council on Public History (NCPH) describes it as "the many and diverse ways in which history is put to work in the world.  In this sense, it is history that is applied to real-world issues."

Who are Public Historians? As the NCPH explains:

Public historians come in all shapes and sizes.  They call themselves historical consultants, museum professionals, government historians, archivists, oral historians, cultural resource managers, curators, film and media producers, historical interpreters, historic preservationists, policy advisers, local historians, and community activists, among many many other job descriptions.  All share an interest and commitment to making history relevant and useful in the public sphere.

What Public History courses and programs does Lakehead offer? There are a number of options in the Department of History to learn about what it is to be a Public Historian and to gain experience. All of our courses are taught by practicing professionals and experts.

  • A Specialization in Public History as part of your undergraduate degree.
  • A post-graduate one-year Certificate in Public History.
  • As part of any history degree program, students can take any of the following courses (see the menu drop down) when timetabled in an academic year, as long as they meet the prerequisite(s):
    • Public History (HIST 3830)
    • Introduction to Museum and Heritage Studies (HIST 4850)
    • Introduction to Archival Studies (HIST 4851)
    • Community Placement (HIST 4830)
    • Public History Field School (HIST 4831)
    • Digital History (HIST 4832)
    • Digital History Project (HIST 4903)
    • Public History Project (HIST 4904)

How do you find out more information? Contact the Department of History Public History Coordinator, Dr. C. Nathan Hatton, at


What Our Student Graduates Are Saying About the Public History Program

Lakehead University’s Department of History offers a public history specialization that immerses students in the field of public history. Through Lakehead’s community placement option I have been able to participate in the creation of an ambitious public history project. The most rewarding part of my public history placement has been seeing my own research/writing published and enjoyed by thousands of people. I highly recommend the public history specialization to history students looking for a rewarding way to finish off their undergraduate degree. (Brady Hales, History Specialization graduate)


I had the opportunity to complete a placement with the Thunder Bay Museum through the Community Placement course offered by the Department of History’s Public History Program. My experience allowed me to immerse myself into a workplace that broadened my skills and knowledge about museum work as well as create connections with employers that provide summer and contract jobs for students such as myself. If you get the opportunity, I highly recommend you take Community Placement with the Public History Program. (Haileigh Riddell, History Specialization graduate)