Heritage has, until recently, been viewed as a narrow and elitist version of our past. By opening accessibility to the professional field and particularly by diversifying it, we hope to contribute to the project of democratizing heritage, bringing multiple perspectives of the past into conversation, as civil society should.
Students in the Heritage Studies and Public History (HSPH) program will be grounded in the following knowledge, skills, and values:
Why Study Heritage and Public History in the Twin Cities?
Students will engage in and learn from direct experience in
heritage institutions, which the University and the Twin Cities in general have in unparalleled quantity and diversity. The flagship Twin Cities campus is located in a culture-rich urban area
with a population of some 2.85 million people. The state has 20 Fortune 500 companies and 600 museums and historical societies (twice the national average per capita). Minnesota (population 4.92 million) is home to seven Anishinaabe and four Dakota reservations, as well as significant immigrant communities, including northern and eastern Europeans who arrived in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and Hmong, Mexican, and Somali (among others) imigrants who have made Minnesota home in recent years. We also are within easy driving distance of two national forests, over 75 state parks, some 20 national wildlife refuges and management districts, and classic rural America.
Students will benefit from internships and learning opportunities with Twin Cities agencies, organizations, and community groups working with heritage issues. These include the Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS), the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), the Office of the State Archaeologist (OSA), Minneapolis and St. Paul city planning offices, local non-profit preservation groups, and many museums both inside and outside of the University.
Progressive heritage and public history programs policies further enhance educational opportunities. For example, Minnesota has created an innovative historic building rehabilitation tax credit program and enacted a twenty-five-year "Legacy Amendment" that provides substantial heritage preservation grant funding. The state is also home to a strong community of preservation practitioners, advocates, and organizations including the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota, Preserve Minneapolis, Historic St. Paul, DoCoMoMo Minnesota, and the Minnesota Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians. Collectively, these organizations sponsor some type of preservation event nearly every week, including lectures, tours, and social outings. Prospective and current students are strongly encouraged to visit their websites, join their Facebook pages, and get on their mailing lists to take maximum advantage of opportunities for networking and learning outside the classroom.