History in the Federal Government: Careers Serving Policy Makers and the Public
Kristina Giannotta, Naval History and Heritage Command
Jessie Kratz, National Archives and Records Administration
Matthew Wasniewski, Office of the Historian, U.S. House of Representatives
The Federal Government employs a vast array of historians in a large number of federal agencies, from the National Park Service, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of State, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Archives, the Department of Defense, to the U.S. Congress, to name a few. The work of the federal historical community is strikingly diverse, including park rangers, archivists, preservationists, records managers, documentary editors, museum curators, art historians, institutional historians, oral historians, policy researchers, and those who work in declassification of federal records. This roundtable will focus on the variety of ways and contexts in which historians pursue their profession in the federal government. From assisting policy makers in making informed decisions to working with the public to educate citizens about the history of the United States, this panel will discuss experiences applying the historian’s craft in the federal domain. Exploring the many ways in which federal historians enrich the public sphere while serving their respective institutions, panelists will address the challenges and tensions inherent is serving multiple audiences. Including historians from a diverse segment of the government, the panel will discuss a wide range of programs and projects, and offer advice to those considering careers in public service. We anticipate this discussion will be of interest to public historians, scholars interested in role of federal historians, as well as graduate students and young professionals considering careers in government. This panel is sponsored by the Society for History in the Federal Government (SHFG), a professional organization serving historians working across all three branches of the government, addressing common concerns, supporting shared interests, and stimulating discussion across the federal history community.