Public History, Public Historians, and the American Historical Association (2004)

Report of the Task Force on Public History

Accepted by the Council of the Association, January 2004

This report outlines an ambitious public history agenda for the AHA, including a total of 51 recommendations.  Happily, the Association has already undertaken some actions recommended in the report.  However, the task force also proposed several new inititatives.  While the task force believes all have considerable merit, they are only recommendations.  While Council has formally accepted the spirit of the report, it has not accepted a mandate to implement all recommended actions.  AHA staff, divisions, and committees will carefully consider each recommendation in the context of available resources and other AHA priorities.

We welcome your comments. Contact Debbie Ann Doyle, the AHA's Public History Coordinator.


Organization of the Report

Charge 1. The size and nature of the current membership of public historians in the Association

Charge 2. Whether degree offerings in higher education institutions - including undergraduate as well as graduate programs - adequately take into account the role public history can and does play in the nation's cultural life and within the profession

Charge 3. What professional needs are voiced by public historians that membership in the AHA can and should address

Charge 4. The degree to which various professional standards and practices published by the AHA adequately reflect and serve the needs of public historians

Charge 5. Ways in which the AHA could cooperate on public history issues and initiatives with public history organizations, particularly the National Council on Public History and the Society for History in the Federal Government

Key Recommendations