Public History Boot Camp

Public History Boot Camp is a training initiative offering low-cost, high-quality workshops on current scholarship and essential skills for public history professionals. Initiated in 2013, our boot camp programs have been featured in Public History News and at national professional conferences.

Upcoming Workshops:

Find Your Perfect Match: Grantmakers and History Organizations, Perfect Together
half-day workshop
April 10, 2017, 9:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Cherry Hill Public Library, 1100 Kings Hwy N, Cherry Hill, NJ 08034

Maybe you have a great idea for an exhibit, or you want to work with a neighborhood organization on an outreach project. Perhaps your building needs a new HVAC system, or you want to develop a strategic plan. What sorts of grants are available to history organizations to help pay for these types of projects? How do you find the right funder for your needs? What are the requirements and expectations of different funders?

Join us on April 10 at the Cherry Hill Public Library to hear from some of New Jersey’s top funders about what they look for in successful proposals. This conversation with funders, sponsored by the New Jersey Historical Commission, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities, the New Jersey Historic Trust, and the New Jersey Council on the Humanities, will help answer these questions and introduce workshop participants to the range of grant funding available, from government agencies to private foundations to corporate funders.

Panelists include Sara Cureton, Director, the New Jersey Historical Commission; Gigi Naglak, Director of Grants and Programs, the New Jersey Council for the Humanities; Lois Greco, Senior Vice President, Evaluations, Wells Fargo Regional Foundation; Sharnita Johnson, Program Director, Arts, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation; Bill Leavens, VP of Operations, The Leavens Foundation; and Nina Stack, CEO, the New Jersey Council for Grantmakers.

Workshop participants will be asked to come prepared to talk about their projects and funding needs, and time will be set aside to discuss strategies. The workshop will conclude with a networking lunch.

A similar workshop will be held on October 10 at Washington’s Headquarters, Morristown National Historical Park.


Historic Preservation Workshops

Cemeteries and Historic Preservation: Workshop and Tour of The Woodlands and Mount Moriah Cemetery
1-day workshop
April 8, 2017, 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
The Woodlands and Mount Moriah Cemeteries, Philadelphia

Through a combination of classroom instruction and on-site exploration, workshop participants will learn about Philadelphia’s rural cemeteries and their historical context, as well as how to assess a cemetery’s  preservation needs and  possible treatments. Students will learn from the example of a targeted condition assessment of family burial lots that staff and student interns from the National Park Service’s Northeast Region Office carried out at Philadelphia’s Laurel Hill Cemetery as part of a larger strategic planning effort launched by the cemetery. Turning to The Woodlands and Mount Moriah Cemetery, students will explore the wide range of stone types,  and other materials, used to construct monuments and their cemetery environments, how and why those materials deteriorate over time, and what responsible efforts can be used to slow that deterioration. Instructors will also discuss the importance of documenting changing cemetery landscapes and modes of commemoration as well as the history of rural cemeteries in the Philadelphia region and elsewhere. The workshop will begin at The Woodlands, with classroom presentation followed by a tour of The Woodlands as an outdoor classroom. After lunch, the class will travel to nearby historic Mount Moriah Cemetery to discuss its preservation challenges.

Originally the site of the estate of William Hamilton, 54-acre landscape of The Woodlands became a 19th-century rural cemetery in 1840. In 2006, it was designated a National Historic Landmark District in recognition of its unique history and rich resources.  Established in 1855, Mount Moriah Cemetery also originally consisted of 54 acres, though today it comprises approximately 200 acres in Philadelphia and Yeadon. The cemetery, which has been poorly maintained for decades, with many of its historic sections overgrown and wooded, has become the project of the Friends of Mount Moriah Cemetery, an organization dedicated to the cemetery’s preservation and promotion through community engagement, education, historic research, and restoration.

This workshop includes both classroom discussion and outdoor activities. Please wear comfortable walking shoes and dress for the weather.


Interpretive Planning for Historic Sites and Museums: Why, What, and How
1-day workshop
October 7, 2017, 9:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Alice Paul Institute, Mount Laurel, NJ

What is interpretive planning? Essentially it combines all the elements that create an optimal visitor experience at a historic site, exhibition, or museum. At this workshop we will consider the interpretive planning process and discuss the various elements that are included in an interpretive plan. We will discuss experiences that participants have had—both positive and negative—in visiting historic sites or exhibitions, and we will apply these experiences to an interactive session based on a current exhibition installed at the Alice Paul Institute. Participants will learn why interpretive planning should be an essential part of any strategic or master planning exercise at a historic and/or cultural institution.


Architecture in Color: Historic Paints and Finishes, Their Investigation and Reproduction

1-day workshop
November 4, 2017, 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Campus Center, Rutgers-Camden

Historic architecture is known to us in primary source materials through drawings or early black-and-white photography.  What’s missing is color and the finishing of a building that makes all the difference in its appearance. Through lectures and hands-on lab work, workshop participants will learn what traditional paints were made of, how they were used, and ways to investigate the finishes history of a building.



Previous Workshops:

Preservation in Practice: A Primer for Historic Preservation Commissions

Public Conversations, Advocacy, and Disability Rights: The Role of History in Promoting Dialogue and Social Change

Accessible Museums, Accessible Objects: Interpreting the Material Culture of Disability for Contemporary Audiences

Make the Most of Your Historic District: Workshop and Tour of Camden’s Cooper Street

Getting Your Historic House (Museum) in Order: Foundation Documents for Managing Your Historic Property

User Experience for Public Historians

Assessing Your Collection: New Jersey’s CAPES and Artifact Assessment Program


Pinterest for History Organizations

New Views on Immigration and Diversity for History Organizations