Heritage Studies and Public History Graduate Program Awarded Mellon Foundation Grant
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a $350,000 grant to the interdisciplinary Heritage Studies and Public History (HSPH) graduate program. Awarded over the course of two years, the grant will provide support for students and their collaborative work with community partners.
“This inspired program acts as a much-needed generator of diversity in professions related to heritage studies and public history. I’m proud of the community partnerships that have been forged and look forward to seeing the progress this generous grant will enable,” said College of Design Dean Carol Strohecker.
“The program’s coursework, cohort structure, and multiple internship opportunities were designed to advance four core values: diversity, interdisciplinary inquiry, experiential learning, and community engagement,” explained Greg Donofrio, associate professor with the College of Design and co-founder of the program. “Our goal is to prepare students to become regional and national leaders in the heritage fields and the Mellon Foundation grant will play a crucial role in helping us achieve this.”
Donofrio, alongside College of Liberal Arts professors Kevin P. Murphy and Katherine Hayes, and Chris Taylor, chief inclusion officer at the Minnesota Historical Society, created the program to address the lack of diversity in education and professional development in the fields of heritage studies and public history.
“Support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will assure that the Heritage Studies and Public History graduate program attracts and supports diverse cohorts of students who will develop expertise working with and for diverse communities,” said Murphy. “Our students will tell and curate stories from perspectives and communities often absent from the narratives historically told by most cultural institutions,” added Hayes.
Organizers of the HSPH master’s degree and Ph.D. minor seek to open the program to students from all backgrounds by placing diversity and inclusion at the center of recruitment and teaching. “This is a unique opportunity for the Minnesota Historical Society to play a critical role in training the workforce of the future and ensuring that they have the skills and tools necessary to serve all Minnesotans,” explained Taylor.
In addition to furthering change in academic and professional practice, the HSPH program is also helping to advance University initiatives and collaborations. “This is an exciting program that links the University with the Minnesota Historical Society and many community partners in order to diversify the fields and voices of heritage studies and public history. The generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will help to create more opportunities for students and will expand the reach and impact of work by and for Minnesota communities,” said Executive Vice President and Provost Karen Hanson. “This program is one of many ways the University of Minnesota is re-imagining graduate education in the humanities—and it is part of a suite of related initiatives we’re advancing in partnership with the Mellon Foundation.”