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Mission

The Center for Texas Public History facilitates and conducts research in the field of public history, educates students at the graduate and continuing professional levels, and provides opportunities for local, community, and institutional partnerships in public history.


Background

Established in 2011, the Center for Texas Public History (CTPH) is housed in the Department of History and operates as an integral part of the commitment to public history practice and scholarship in the academic public history program. The center offers students the opportunity to explore career possibilities, to develop individual skills that build on classroom knowledge, to field test theories and methodologies, and to gain experience in areas such as planning, budgeting, grant writing, teamwork and contract compliance. Dr. P. Lynn Denton serves as the center’s director, and Mr. Dan K. Utley is the chief historian.

The work of the center is organized to meet the following goals:

  • Enhance career opportunities for students through service and practice
  • Support a positive learning environment that encourages diversity, creativity, innovation and teamwork
  • Collaborate with students, partners, donors and the university to contribute to our understanding of the past
  • Foster diverse partnerships with private and public sector institutions and organizations
  • Create a body of scholarly work for future scholars and planners
  • Maintain professional standards and best practices in our public history work

The center’s first two projects, conducted in cooperation with the National Park Service, have resulted in significant studies related to the interpretation and preservation of sites associated with Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park.

As part of an initiative to improve documentation of its history, the University currently provides support for a graduate research student assistant to conduct and transcribe oral history interviews with retiring faculty and staff of the Department of History. These are deposited in the University Archives as research resources.

In 2012, the center received a generous grant from the Summerlee Foundation in support of a field service initiative to assist small nonprofit historical organizations and county historical commissions in five key areas:

  • research and writing for Official Texas Historical Marker nominations
  • museum interpretive planning and exhibit content development
  • site-based analysis for Historic Texas Cemetery designations
  • workshop training in the fundamentals of oral history
  • and museum collection management and collection facility assessments

For more information on these initiatives please visit our Partnership Opportunities page.