By Daniel Cochran
I signed up for this class having no real clue what was to be taught from the description, but I needed another 300+ (at least, though I’ve been try’n to take only 400+ to finish out my history degree at Coastal) level class to finish out the final requirements before the Capstone (HIST498).
The part of the description for the course that stated, “learn more about post-baccalaureate employment opportunities as well as graduate programs in public history” really sparked my interest. Because, research is my passion whether it be into the computer world I have lived in for over 30 years (started programming professionally in 1989), or the true interest of my life, history. Therefore, I was interested in learning what, if anything, I could do to make a living or perform part-time in semi-retirement to earn a buck or two. Finally, I looked at this class as an easy “A” to be honest.
Well, Dr. Clary makes sure you work for your grade, as have all my professors at Coastal, so it is not a level 100 “easy A” class. However, it is a very interesting and mostly enjoyable class. Broderick and I were sent out to investigate a historical business building in Conway, South Carolina on our first class outing. That ended up being a hoot while learning more about our city our college is part of here. BTW: I bought the grits in the store and they are tasty. Then our second outing as a class was to the Horry County Museum where we got a behind the scenes learning experience that coincided with our class teachings with archival, restorations, presentations, and museum management. I’ve included a few pictures of what we saw at the Horry County Museum.
Our third outing assigned was a volunteer event where we headed out solo to work in Public History. I choose to volunteer at Georgetown County Museum in Georgetown, South Carolina. Georgetown was the third city settled in the Proprietors’ colony known as Carolina, which became North and South Carolina. Thanks to the Director Ms. Elisabeth McKee, I was able to spend Halloween (prior) weekend as Thomas Lynch, Jr. performing as the docent (fancy college word for guide) for that Saturday.
By the way, I don’t look like Mr. Lynch at all, but it was fun walking up and down the floors showing folks the history of the third city settled in the colony of South Carolina. In addition to showing folks the vast collection of historical items displayed at Georgetown, I was able to work on a fundraising mailing list when folks were not in the museum. This is something I look forwarding to doing again in the future. (Read more about my volunteer work here).
The latest subjects we have been learning about are right up my professional alley, G.I.S. and recreation of historical landscapes, structures, and events to add an even more involved experience for visitors to a site. It was totally intriguing to listen to the computer efforts at Coastal to return visitors to the Hampton Plantation in Georgetown County to what it was like, how they lived, what they worked on in an interactive environment much like most modern video games today.
If you are a History major at Coastal do not miss the opportunity to take this course that takes you out of deep research and writing for a brief time to show you what you can do with the knowledge you are learning here. That knowledge you are working on, can be turned into something the non-historian or casual-interest person can enjoy and learn from by honing your public history skillset(s) learned in this class.