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“A Workable Future”: Alumna Anne Petersen, Director of the SB Trust for Historic Preservation, featured in the UCSB Current


From The Current:

UC Santa Barbara’s Public History Ph.D. program, the nation’s first,
prepares students for careers outside academia


(Santa Barbara, Calif.) — Anne Petersen realized as an undergraduate that
for her, a career in history would be best experienced outside of a
classroom. It was her second summer in college, and she was a volunteer at
the Jackson Hole Museum and Teton County Historical Society doing an
inventory of its Native American artifacts for possible repatriation to
local tribes.

The work was “engaging” because it was about forming stronger relationships
with tribes and realizing the museum wasn’t just a vessel for the past. The
work “was about relationships and community identity in the present,”
Petersen said. “Work in local history museums requires thoughtfulness about
what you’ve collected, whose history you’re representing, what stories you
choose to tell and who has the right to tell them. After that experience, I
just put myself on a track to try to figure out how to make public history
my career.”

Consider the track a success. Today, Petersen is executive director of the
Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation, a nonprofit organization
that manages a number of significant sites of the area’s past, including El
Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park. One of the keys to realizing
her dream, she said, was the Public History doctoral program at UC Santa

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