Historians in Businesses and Associations

The research, writing, and analytical skills of the historian can be of great value to business corporations and nonprofit associations.

Historians in Corporations

Within a particular company, those with a background in history may find careers in the areas of external relations, marketing, information resource management, legal affairs, finance and control, administration, human resources, and operations. In almost every type of business, archivists and records managers are employed to oversee current and archival records, using them to provide information and archival services. In the area of human resources, historians with a knowledge of foreign languages and foreign cultures, working in an international company, can help employees and customers communicate effectively. Some opportunities may be unique to a particular kind of business. Historians in communications may routinely research and write historical documentaries and narratives, while those in other fields may produce these only for anniversary celebrations. Working for an insurance company, historians might evaluate records related to case histories or produce demographic and actuarial studies. Mineral extraction companies may want information on land use history and prior mineral claims on the land. Public relations companies may use a firm's history as part of a promotional campaign and ask the historian to do the necessary research.

Contract Historians

Contract historians work in almost every area of history described in this pamphlet. Museums, nonprofit organizations, federal agencies, businesses, and individuals all may hire consultants who contract for particular projects. Contract historians can own or work for history businesses--firms that specialize in providing history services for a variety of clients, from preparing brochures for a historical society to planning a company's anniversary celebration, providing litigation support, preparing text for a museum exhibit, researching a historic site for a cultural resources management project, and declassifying documents for a government agency. An entrepreneurial spirit is critical to success in this endeavor, as contract historians have to convince people there is a need for their services.

Historians and Nonprofit Associations

The numerous nonprofit associations at the national, state, and local level that are involved in historical activities need staff who have had some training in history. Administration, programs management, publishing, meeting organization, and increasingly, web site management are among the staffing areas that a history major can aspire for.