HIST 3340                                                                                                              Fall 2006


Dr. Bob Wettemann
Office:  Old Main 207
Office Hours: MW 9:00-10:00, 1:00-2:30; T-Th 10:30-12:00, or by appointment
Phone:  793-3864 or 677-6640 (emergencies only)
Email:  rwettemann@mcm.edu


This course serves as an advanced introduction to the multi-disciplinary field of Public History.  Students will gain a broad, yet sophisticated, understanding of Public History that will enable them to identify and pursue specialized areas of interest.  This will be achieved primarily by examining the American public history process and developing some of the necessary skills to practice Public History.  The main topics to be addressed in this course include:

-- The philosophy and history of public history.
-- The role of the historian in the myriad fields of Public History.
-- Methodologies and practices of Public History. 

A special effort will be made to set aside time each week for discussion.  Students are encouraged to take this opportunity to ask questions, share ideas, offer impressions related to the course.  Also, if schedules can be arranged, several guest speakers and field trips will allow students to view the activities of Public Historians as they are practiced in the field.

REQUIRED READINGS: There are two (2) required books:

Alderson and Low, Interpretation of Historic Sites  
Kyvig and Marty, Nearby History
Snow, Performing the Pilgrims

Additional Reserve Materials will be made available at the Library circulation desk.


A total of 600 points will be offered throughout the course of the semester.  Final grades will be awarded based upon the scale outlined in the McMurry University 2003-2005 catalog, and will correspond with the following point totals:


558-600 points






















less than 360 points


Field Trip:  On 5 September, the class will meet at Buffalo Gap Historic Village.  After a tour of the facility, the class will address issues that may (or may not) need to be addressed in the class project.  Students will need to review and sign the travel form provided with the syllabus prior to this class meeting.

Collections Management Policy Review:  By 5 September, each student will locate and bring to class a copy of a Collection Management Policy from a museum or historic site comparable to the Buffalo Gap Historic Village, and a short written (1-2 pages, typed) review comparing the policy they located (strengths, weaknesses, shortcomings) to the current BGHV policy (available on reserve at the library).  Both policy and policy review will be turned in for a grade.  Copies of the policies located will be collected and placed on reserve at the library to assist in subsequent assignments.  This assignment will be worth 50 points (25 for submission of the collections management policy, 25 for submission of the collections policy review).

Collections Management Policy Draft:  Each student will prepare a revised version of the Collection Management Policy for the Buffalo Gap Historic Village (BGHV).  This revised policy manual will be based upon the October 2001 version on reserve in the library, an understanding of the current interpretive scheme of the BGHV, and additional copies of collection management policies gathered by the class (see previous assignment).  The individually-prepared BGHV Collections Management Policy will be due on 12 September.  This policy will be worth 50 points. 

Collections Management Policy Project:  Upon completion of the CMP Draft, the class as a whole will assemble independently and forge their individual efforts at a CMP into a single document to guide the next phase of the class project.  A final copy of the class-developed collective Collections Management Policy will be due on 26 September.  The class-developed CMP will be worth 100 points.  Upon approval from the Executive Director and Board of the Grady McWhiney Research Foundation, this CMP will form the foundation for a review and analysis of storage facilities at the BGHV.  Details TBA.  The remaining class project will consist of collections assessment, organization and identification for continued display, storage or deaccessioning from the BGHV collection. You will be allotted two class periods (17 October and 14 November) to work on this project, though additional time may be required. Additional scheduling will be undertaken with the cooperation of the Program Manager at the Buffalo Gap Historic Village.  The completed assessment and reorganization of existing BGHV storage facilities will be worth 100 points.   

McMurry Material Culture Project:  Details TBA.  This assignment will be worth 100 points.

Interpretive Programming:  On 31 October, you are required to assist in an interpretive event at the Buffalo Gap Historic Village in which the McMurry University Public History Program will play a significant role.  Details will be forthcoming.  Participation in interpretive programming is worth 50 points.

Examinations: There will be one exam in this class: a 100 point examination that will assess your mastery of the fundamental concepts associated with Public History.  This exam will be based upon the texts, any assigned readings, class discussions and guest speakers and field trips.  It will consist of short answer, identification, and essay questions.  This exam will be administered on 12 December.

Class Participation:  Your attendance and participation in any and all class sessions, discussions, and projects is expected.  50 points will be awarded for exceptional participation.  You will be allowed one excused absence.  Each subsequent unexcused absence will result in a deduction of 25 points.


MISSED/ MAKE-UP EXAMINATION: Any student requesting a make-up for the exam must present a note from a physician, a university approved excuse, or other appropriate documentation.  All make-up examinations will be taken within one week after the student's return to class.

ATTENDANCE:  Attendance is required, as the lectures, seminars, tours, and workshops are crucial as they provide the basic knowledge necessary to complete the class project in an appropriate and professional manner. 

LATE ASSIGNMENTS: Late assignments will be penalized by one letter grade per calendar day, with the first deduction being taken immediately after class on the appropriate due date.  Thus, if the paper is not turned in until the next day after class, the highest grade that you may possibly make on the assignment will be a "B+."  If you plan to be absent on a university sponsored activity the day that the paper is due, you must turn your paper in early or suffer the same penalties.  Late papers due to illness will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

ACADEMIC DISHONESTY and PLAGIARISM:  All work for this class must be a product of the student's own effort. Evidence of cheating on the reading quiz or on any of the exams by the use of illicit notes, crib sheets, or any other means will result in automatic failure of the class.  Similarly, even if someone gives you permission to submit their work as your own, or if you present another's work as your own text without quotation marks, and proper citation, that is plagiarism.  If you have not done so already, consult the "Plagiarism" section of the McMurry History Department Style Manual.  Any evidence of Plagiarism will result in automatic failure of the class.

PRELIMINARY COURSE CALENDAR (subject to revision):

29 August Syllabus and Course Introduction -- What is Public History?  Review K&M, chs. 1-3.
5 September Meet at Buffalo Gap Historic Village.  Collection Policy Reviews Due.  Read A&L, chs. 1-5, and Appendix 1 and 2 for next week. 
12 September Historic Sites and Interpretation. Individual Collection Management Policy Due.
19 September History Museums, Theory and Practice.  Read K&M, ch.4-7.
26 September  Research for Public Historians.  Read K&M, ch. 8, 12. Class-prepared Collection Management Policy Due.
3 October -- "More than just Old Stuff":  Material Culture and Cultural Resource Management. 
10 October Material Culture (con't).  Discussion of McMurry Material Culture Project.
17 October Class meets at BGHV.  Work on Collection Management Project.
24 October -- "That's Not what I Saw in the Movies":  History and Film.  Review K&M 4-7.
31 October -- INTERPRETIVE EVENT:  "Horrors of the Frontier" at Buffalo Gap Historic Village, 28-31 October.  Details TBA.  
7 November Maintaining Sources:  Oral Histories, Archives and Libraries.
14 November  Class meets at BGHV.  Work on Collection Management Project.  Read K&M chs. 9 and 10, Appendices C, D and E for next week.
21 November Historic Preservation.
28 November "Isn't it Hot in those Clothes?":  The Theory and Practice of Living History.  Be prepared to discuss Snow, Performing the Pilgrims.
5 December Presentation of McMurry Material Culture Projects.  Details TBA.
12 December Final Exam. 7:00 p.m.