Impacts and outcomes (part two): Tools to use

In my last post, I talked about some of the trainings and conceptual frameworks that help me to measure the impact of my programs at the Trustees of Reservations. I wanted to expand on the idea of measuring success and highlight some of the tools I have used for various programs and organizations that I have worked with.

These days I start by organizing the items we want to measure into two equally important categories: Organizational Goals and Engagement Impact Goals. Although I did not always explicitly make this distinction, looking back over the engagement activities I’ve worked with at different organizations, I can see that this distinction was more often present than not. Continue reading

When the student becomes the master (of history)

There are many transitions we go through when we leave graduate programs and start working as public historians. A hard one for me was the transition from student to role model and possible mentor to others working in the field of history.

two young women

Most of the interns that work with me are graduate students around my age, which was intimidating at first until I realized that in addition to our work together, where we could learn from each other, many were becoming friends. (In the photo that’s me at left with former Trustees intern and current good buddy, Jess).

Despite having been a role model for youth in my programs for years, it was different and more intimidating to think about myself as a potential role model in the field of public history for highly talented grad students, many my own age. Now, I was in position to inspire students to consider public engagement at cultural landscapes as a possible career choice, but I felt like I was still, myself, in the process of learning. Most of the students who work with us come with incredible depths of knowledge in areas that I never studied. All I could think was, “Who am I to tell them how to do this project?”

Recently, though, I have overcome some of those insecurities to better understand what it means to be a role model in the field of public history; how it differs from the mentorship role that professors and others who work in higher education play; and how each of us, even those like me who are new to the field, can play an influential role in shaping active, engaged, and innovative public historians. Continue reading