Practicum Partnerships

Smithsonian Garden

Every spring, public history students in the public history practicum (HIST-730) engage in hands-on learning through projects with various external partners. For students, these projects provide an arena for authentic learning, a chance to build resumes, and an opportunity to work closely with a professional mentor. For our partners, the projects provide valuable, professional assistance in developing their interpretive programming and exhibits.

Projects require students to work in small teams of two or three people and spend about 100 to 150 hours apiece researching and developing the final product. Through the process of creating these projects, students learn best practices in interpretive planning, visitor evaluation, writing for public audiences, and working with new media. Students are required to build digital portfolios and present their work to a gathering of partners and faculty at the end of the semester.

Current partners:

Dupont Underground 

DC 1968

NPR (National Public Radio)

Cleveland Park Historical Society

 

Previous Partners:

Anacostia Community Museum
- Wrote blog posts documenting the history of neighborhood change in the DC Latino(a) community.

Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial, National Park Service
- Researched and designed wayside signs for Arlington Cemetery.
- Researched and developed interpretive plan for slave quarters.

Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historic Park
- Researched and selected new material for the self-guided interpretive resources.

Historical Society of Washington
- Used collections to research and create an education program for D.C. Public Schools' twelfth graders centered around the question of "Who is a Washingtonian?"
- Created educational programming to illuminate the history of the streetcar and teach students how to exercise historical thinking.

Lemelson Center for the History of Invention and Innovation, National Museum of American History
- Researched and scripted two theater monologues highlighting the lives of women inventors.

Menokin Foundation
- Produced a prospectus to guide the foundation's future work, and three wayside signs about the house and grounds.

National Building Museum
- Researched and developed wayside signs for the St. Elizabeth's hospital campus (now Homeland Security) to educate employees about the history of the campus and what the buildings were used for.

National Museum of American History
- Worked on a number of components for the upcoming permanent exhibition American Enterprise
- Photographed one hundred objects, conducted research, and designed a website that explored the business history of cosmetics.
- Researched and designed a website on the history of trade in the US and products produced in America.
- Researched and scripted a public program exploring the history of innovation through artificial hearts. 
- Researched and developed large flashcards about advertising trivia to engage people waiting in line.
- Researched and developed large flashcards connecting famous artifacts to less familiar ones to engage people waiting in line.

National Park Service
- Developed podcast about Marian Anderson's Lincoln Memorial concert.
- Researched and created an online exhibit about Resurrection City.
- Researched and designed an interpretive website for the DC War Memorial.
- Created a website that connects certain rights in the Bill of Rights to National Parks around the country.

Smithsonian Gardens
- Developed an educational website about America's history of urban community gardening.
- Curated a pop-up exhibit about the international history of honey bees and changes in beekeeping innovation to demonstrate the extent of human reliance on these creatures and the threat posed by their potential extinction. 

White House Historical Association
- Researched and scripted guided walking ghost tour of Lafayette Square.
- Created web exhibit of the unfurnished servant's quarters at the Decatur House.