I interview Dr. Timothy Dodge, history and political science librarian at Auburn University.
What does public history mean to you?
“Public History is the study of history outside of academics, things such as Museums displays, historic sites.” Dr. Dodge also mentions movies, “not a big blockbuster, but more like documentaries and other informative films.” Also, he mentioned an automobile museum which he has been to a few of them.
Did you always see yourself in your career field?
“Yes, I attended school at Columbia University to become a librarian at twenty-two years old since after I got my bachelor’s degree in history from the University of New Hampshire.” Dr. Dodge also mentions he later went and got his doctorate in history. The decision was easy for him, as he states he enjoyed being in the library since he was a child.
Can you explain the process of becoming a public historian?
“Just getting out there and meet other historians. Do internships at museums, parks things like that, gain credentials, and get involved in public relations.
What is your favorite part of your profession?
“Other than helping students find sources for research topics, Publishing articles and books, peer reviews, researching, identifying and locating sources.” Also, Dr. Dodge mentioned he likes getting emails from random people, telling him how much they enjoyed his books or articles, and the feedback he gets from them.
What advice would you give history majors that is interested in being a public historian?
“Be flexible, use the technological change to your advantage, learn and take advantage of sources online. Be imaginative and establish a personal connection with historian.” Dr. Dodge talked about the connection he had established with Donald Vincent the head library director at the University of New Hampshire. Donald Vincent went on to mentor Dr. Dodge not only as a student but also after he became a librarian.