Outside the Classroom: New History Internship Seminar for Spring 2016 by Haneen Islam

Dr. Jana Lipman, Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of History at Tulane, will offer a class in the Spring semester that will allow history majors and minors to simultaneously study Public History and complete their 2nd tier service learning requirement. Noteworthy is that non-history majors are also welcome in the class, pending Dr. Lipman’s approval.

“There are a lot of opportunities for students to think about history in different venues,” says Dr. Lipman. “Over the last several years, I have worked with students who are interning at the World War II Museum and I would like to develop a way so that more internship opportunities are available for students in history.”


Professor Lipman’s class – HIST 4570: Internships in Public History – will allow students to look beyond  scholarly books, learn new skills, and apply their knowledge in the local community. The course itself is structured to be a normal seminar but with a little spice: students will be given the freedom to choose an internship and they will have to complete a final project at the end of the semester. As Professor Lipman says, “we want the students to have more learning opportunities outside the classroom, and there’s lots of ways to do that in history by having internships at museums and archives.” However, the students will not be handed an internship to them on a silver platter. Professor Lipman will assist them, but they will still need to take the necessary steps to find an internship.

A number of institutions have collaborated with Professor Lipman and the Center for Public Service to provide opportunities for students to learn about history in a new light while fulfilling their 2nd tier service-learning requirement. These institutions include: the Historical New Orleans Collection, the Ogden Museum of Art, the World War II Museum, the Louisiana State Museum, and New Orleans Historical, among others. Each institution will work with students on projects related to the institution’s specialty. For example, New Orleans Historical, a partnership between Tulane students and the University of New Orleans, has proposed a project where students will work to create online walking tours of the city. Other institutions may enlist the help of students in giving walking tours, being guides for museum collections, or helping to digitize collections.

“Students should not think that this is all that historians ‘do’ or that these are the only career paths available for History majors – not at all. History majors can find successful careers in all fields from finance to non-profits to tech start-ups to entertainment to the law and government. However, Public History is another way of ‘doing’ history and it will allow students to gain new skills in a professional setting. If they’re interested in History, this is another way of getting a new perspective on it,” said Professor Lipman. This class will allow students to observe history with a completely new spin on it. The study of history encompasses a variety of opportunities – these internships are just the start to discovering them.

Written by Haneen Islam, a freshman studying Political Science. Haneen is a student associate for the Public Service Internships and International Programs at CPS. 

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