The Center for Public History is an interdisciplinary program that provides students with the opportunity to engage in the work of interpreting history for a public audience. Hampden-Sydney is ideally suited for this work given its historic campus and the surrounding region, the emphasis on effective oral and written communication, and the College’s mission to create good men and good citizens, which requires the ability to knowledgeably, civilly, and accurately examine and discuss the past. 

The Center offers courses, programs, extracurricular events, and internship opportunities focusing on five broad areas of public history work: archeology, archives, historic preservation, museum studies, and oral history. Students need not be history majors to benefit from participation in Center classes and activities. The Center includes faculty from a variety of departments on campus including Fine Arts, Rhetoric, History, as well as the Bortz Library and Atkinson Museum.  

For more information about courses, internship opportunities, or programs, please contact
Dr. Caroline Emmons, Center Director

Public History Faculty

Dr. Caroline Emmons, Director

Dr. John Coombs, Professor of History

Dr. James Frusetta, Elliott Associate Professor of History

Dr. Sean Gleason, Assistant Professor of Rhetoric

Shauna Hunter-McKinney, Director of Bortz Library

Angela Way, Director-Curator of the Atkinson Museum

Courses & Opportunities

Sample Course Offerings

HIST180 (Emmons): The Moton Story: Prince Edward and the Civil Rights Movement;
HIST185 (Pearson/Emmons): GPR Survey of Old College Site;
HIST185 (Emmons): Intro to PH;
VISU185 (Prevo): Art and Archive: Curatorial Practice;
HONORS 201 (Blackman): History Through Comics;
HIST210 (Pearson): Field Methods and Practice in Historical Archeology ;
HIST240 (Pearson): Field Methods and Practice in Historical Archeology;
HIST250 (Introduction to Public History);
HIST255 (Coombs): Methods and Interpretation in American Historical Archeology;
HIST285 (Emmons): Intro to PH;
HIST285 (Way): Collection Management in a Museum ;
HIST 285 (Emmons): Oral History Workshop-Bagby;
HIST285 (Way): Collection Management in a Museum;
HIST285 (Almond/Emmons): Building a Community Archive;
HIST 285 (Connolly-Brown): Intro to Archives;
HIST285.02 (Way): Museum Collections and the Savvy Collector;
VISU360 (Prevo): History and Landscape;
VISU360 (Prevo): American Domestic Architecture;
RHET360.01 (Gleason): Qualitative Inquiry and Deep Mapping ;
RHET 370 (Gleason): Rhetoric and Culture ;
GVFA385 (Eastby/Lehman): Vietnam Archive;
HIST385 (Hulbert): American West in History and Film

Student Projects

Hampden-Sydney African American History Walking Tour
Worsham and H-SC Campus History
Mercy Seat, Hampden-Sydney, and the School Closing Crisis
Building a Community Archive

Faculty Project

Hampden-Sydney Tiger Instagram Project


Summer 2024 Internships

Spend part of your summer in a public history internship! You don’t need to be a history major (although it helps if you love history). These internships offer opportunities to develop skills in a wide range of areas from marketing to financial planning to public policy, among others.

We have opportunities in the following fields:

Historic Preservation
Historical Interpretation
Archival Research

Internships may be available at: Monticello, Red Hill, Museum of the Confederacy, Colonial Williamsburg, Sailor’s Creek Battlefield State Park, Museum of the Civil War Soldier, Yorktown Victory Center, and many other historical sites.

If you enroll in a summer Compass internship course, you can receive Compass EL-Off credit as well as grants up to $2500!

For more information
Contact Dr. Emmons at

Atkinson Museum

The Esther Thomas Atkinson Museum strives to promote an awareness and understanding of the history of Hampden-Sydney College as it relates to its role in the history of Virginia and the United States.

Atkinson Museum