Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Graduation May 2014

It's hard to believe another academic year has come to an end. We're so proud of our students who graduated last week and wish them all much success, happiness, and health! Here are a few highlights from the Saturday, May 10, 2014, diploma ceremony. Enjoy! And we'll see you back here in August for the start of a new academic year!

graduate students
some of our graduate students posing prior to the ceremony

student and faculty members
Gannam Rifkah, one of our History majors, was the recipient of the General Excellence Award for the McAnulty College and Graduate School. Here he poses with Department Chair, Dr. Jay Dwyer, and Associate Professor of History, Dr. Holly Mayer.

student giving speech
General Excellence Award recipient and History major, Gannam Rifkah, speaks to the crowd.

Dual degree student, Christina Loscalzo, smiles for the camera. Christina earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and a Bachelor of Science degree in Education.

student with diploma
History major Gesue Staltari poses with his diploma. Gesue was the recipient of the Jean E. Hunter Award for Writing History.

student with diploma
Shannon Smith, one of our History majors, poses with her diploma. Shannon was the recipient of the Erik Gerhard Student Resource Grant this year, an award given to rising student scholars in the field of History.

student with diploma
Historical Studies graduate student Zachary DeBacco gives a big smile as he walks off stage after receiving his diploma. Zach is considering a PhD program in the fall of 2014.

student with diploma
Despite the slight bluriness, Art History and History double major, Abigail Jones, is all smiles after receiving her diploma! During her time in the Department of History, Abby received the Erik Gerhard Student Resource Grant and the Giorgio Vasari Award for Excellence in Art History.

student and professor
David Harkleroad, a graduate student in the Historical Studies Program, poses with Associate Professor Holly Mayer after the ceremony. David holds a graduation gift given to him by Dr. Mayer. Both David and Dr. Mayer are military members (David currently in the Army and Dr. Mayer retired from the Army), and the two formed a unique friendship and bond as a result. We thank them both for their service to our country.

students and employee
Current Public History student and graduate assistant Carrie Hadley (left), recent Public History graduate and graduate assistant Aaron O'Data (center), and Department of History Administrative Assistant Laura Donaldson (right) pose for a "selfie" after the ceremony. 

David Harkleroad and Aaron O'Data are all smiles on graduation day!

University Archivist Tom White details important events in Musmanno Collection

Tom White, University Archivist and part-time instructor in the Department of History, is featured again in the most recent issue of Duquesne Magazine. For the complete version of the Spring 2014 issue, as well as others, visit here.

image of magazine article

image of magazine article

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Phi Alpha Theta Induction and Departmental Awards Ceremony 2014

This past Friday, April 11, 2014, our department proudly inducted 22 students into our chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the National History Honors Society, as well as recognized four of our students with departmental awards for excellence in scholarship. To view the full album, visit our Facebook page.

students holding awards
some of the students who were inducted into Phi Alpha Theta and/or received departmental awards

man reading from booklet
Dr. Matthew Hyland, faculty advisor for Phi Alpha Theta, reads from the induction booklet.

students standing
Students take an oath to uphold the responsibilities of membership in Phi Alpha Theta.

students standing
Daniel Branagan (center) takes an oath to uphold the responsibilities of membership in Phi Alpha Theta.

History and Political Science double major Gannam Rifkah received our department's top award, the Joseph R. Morice Award for Excellence in History, which we give to our top graduating senior. We were honored to have in attendance Mrs. Josie Morice, the wife of the faculty member for whom the award is named. 

student poses with award
Joseph R. Morice Award recipient Gannam Rifkah

student and woman pose for picture
Gannam Rifkah, recipient of the 2014 Joseph R. Morice Award for Excellence in History, poses with guest of honor Mrs. Josephine "Josie" Morice, wife of the faculty member for whom the award is named. 

woman and student laughing
Gannam Rifkah (right), recipient of the Joseph R. Morice Award for Excellence in History, shares a light moment with our guest of honor, Mrs. Josephine "Josie" Morice, wife of the faculty member for whom the award is named.

We were also excited to honor Gesue Staltari with the Jean E. Hunter Award for Excellence in Writing History, which is an award we give to a student demonstrating superior research skills, imaginative analysis, optimal organization, and clear, polished writing in the major methods course, HIST 311W, Writing History. Gesue is also a senior double major in History and Political Science.

student with award
Gesue Staltari poses with his award, the Jean E. Hunter Award for Excellence in Writing History

student hugging award
Gesue Staltari was very happy to receive the Jean E. Hunter Award for Excellence in Writing History!

Included in our awards ceremony was the Erik Gerhard Student Resource Grant. Mr. Gerhard was a graduate of our history program and has generously provided the award to "rising scholars" in the field of History. This year's recipients are History majors Shannon Smith and Daniel Branagan. The award comes with a framed certificate and generous financial honorarium. (Unfortunately, we were not able to get a photo of Shannon Smith before she left the event.)

framed award

student with award
History major Daniel Branagan received the 2014 Erik Gerhard Student Resource Grant for his promising scholarly work in the field of History.

Our event also included guest speakers. Emily Weaver, curator of the Fort Pitt Blockhouse and 2009 graduate of our Public History graduate program, spoke to the group about her experience in our graduate program and how it helped her land a job in the field. 

woman speaking
Public History graduate student alumna Emily Weaver, curator of the Fort Pitt Blockhouse, speaks to the group about her experience of studying history and ultimately getting a job in the field.

Public History graduate students Carrie Hadley and Lauren Van Zandt also spoke. Their talk focused on what it's like to present a paper at a conference. A few weeks ago, they and fellow graduate student Aaron O'Data traveled with faculty mentor Dr. Matthew Hyland to Slippery Rock University for the Annual Western Pennsylvania Regional Phi Alpha Theta Conference, where they presented some of their recent scholarship. All three students received awards for their work, including Best Paper for Aaron O'Data's panel and Best Paper for Lauren Van Zandt's panel. Carrie Hadley received an Honorable Mention.

students speaking
Public History graduate students Lauren Van Zandt (left) and Carrie Hadley (right) talk about their experiences of presenting papers at the Western PA Regional Phi Alpha Theta Conference which was held recently at Slippery Rock University.

We were happy to see that some parents showed up to help celebrate with us. It's always an honor to recognize our students for the outstanding work they're doing. Can't wait until next year!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Visiting Artist Andrew Hairstans' Exhibit, "A Model for Asylum"

Join us tomorrow, Tuesday, March 25, 2014, for the opening lecture with visiting artist, Mr. Andrew Hairstans, followed by a reception and exhibition opening. See you there!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Summer and Fall 2014 Course Offerings Now Available!

image of schedule

It's Spring Break this week on campus, but when students return next week, they'll begin preparations for Summer and Fall 2014 course registration, which starts on March 24, 2014.

Take a look at the exciting courses we'll be offering in our programs for Summer and Fall 2014!

Undergraduate Art History

Summer 2014

Fall 2014

Undergraduate History

Summer 2014 (be sure to scroll down to Undergraduate History)

Fall 2014

Graduate History

Summer 2014 (be sure to scroll down to Graduate History)

Fall 2014

For our undergraduate students, please remember to meet with your departmental mentor prior to registration. Details can be found on our Intranet page via the Index in the upper right-hand corner of DORI (after you log in).

For our graduate students, please remember to meet with Dr. Michael Cahall, Director of Graduate Studies, prior to registration. Details can be found on our Intranet page via the Index in the upper right-hand corner of DORI (after you log in).

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Guest Blog Post: Josh Fox (Public History M.A. '09) on Life as a Collections Manager

Every once in a while, we like to feature one of our alums here on the blog. It's a great way to see what our former students are up to after they've left the hallowed halls of the Department of History. And, trust us, some of them are up to some pretty exciting stuff!

Meet today's guest blogger, Public History Program alum Josh Fox. Josh got his M.A. from us in 2009 and, after several odd jobs here and there, went on to become the Collections Manager at the Philadelphia Independence Seaport Museum. See what he's up to!

"Oh, Sugar!" exhibit opening: Exhibit Manager Megan, Collections Manager Josh Fox, Archivist Megan (last names withheld)

A Busy Year at the Independence Seaport Museum  

When I started my job as the Collections Manager of the Independence Seaport Museum last September I didn’t realize I’d be walking straight into a disaster, or, more specifically, the museum’s new exhibit, “Disasters on the Delaware: Rescues on the River,” which was set to open in only two weeks. I was right on time to dive into installing a major exhibit. “Disasters on the Delaware,” an exhibit with a three-year run, tells the story of 12 shipwrecks on the Delaware River ranging in date from 1774 up to 1978 and was only the first of 5 exhibits that have gone up in my first year at the Seaport Museum. All of these exhibits have kept our four person collections staff very busy.  
The next exhibit, “URS: Digging the City,” went up as part of the museum’s new Community Gallery initiative. The concept of the Community Gallery is to present rotating exhibits featuring guest curators from the Philadelphia community working in partnership with the Independence Seaport Museum. The gallery helps give a voice to members of the community with ties to the river that otherwise might not be represented in the long term exhibits. URS is a local archeology company, and their exhibit featured artifacts excavated along the I-95 corridor, which cuts though Philadelphia’s waterfront. The Community Gallery rotates every 6 months. Working with the guest curators and groups allows for quick, small exhibits by placing a lot of the planning on those groups and not on the museum staff. However, it never quite seems like less work with the piles of loan and insurance paperwork as well as the two weeks needed to de-install one exhibit and install the new one.  
Once the URS exhibit came down it was time for the next Community Gallery, “Tugboats: The Art of Dave Boone.” As the name implies, this exhibit featured the paintings of Dave Boone, a self taught Maritime painter and Tugboat enthusiast. Dave also worked for 28 years on the Delaware River as a tugboat dispatcher and, more importantly, has been a long-time volunteer at the museum.  
“Tides of Freedom: African Presence on the Delaware River,” a three-year exhibit opened on May 4, 2013. This exhibit tells the stories of African-Americans who lived and worked along the river from the colonial era to the present day. Tukufu Zuberi, a University of Pennsylvania Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies and a host of PBS’s “History Detectives,” was brought in as a guest curator for this exhibit. When planning started for this exhibit it was assumed that we would have to get a number of loans for the exhibit because African-Americans haven’t been traditional represented by the museum. However, with a little digging it was discovered that there were indeed a number of artifacts in our collection that told more stories than we could use for the exhibit. Many of these discoveries could be attributed to some of the less than full descriptive catalog entries that exist in the catalog. Perhaps the most surprising and important find was that of “Wastebook B.” (A wastebook was a daily diary documenting transactions, meant to be discarded once it was recopied into a more formal ledger.) This book kept the daily transactions of an unknown Philadelphia merchant for the years 1763 and 1764. When the book was donated to the museum in 1971 the catalog entry mentioned that there were slave transactions recorded but the book was never deeply examined. In preparation for the exhibit if was found that “Wastebook B” recorded the sales of over 230 slaves coming in from 9 different ships in only a year’s time. The waste book proved to be an extremely valuable insight into the Philadelphia colonial era slave trade, and a firm reminder that slavery in America was not limited to the southern states. Selections from the book can be found on the museum’s website.  
And finally, to round out my first year, we had another exhibit for the Community Gallery. “Oh Sugar! Philadelphia’s Sweet Story” was guest curated by the Berley Brothers, Ryan and Eric. The Berley Brothers operate the Franklin Fountain, an Ice Cream Parlor and Soda Fountain, and Shane Confectionary, a candy store. Both of these stores are styled from the early 20th century and specialize in traditional candy and treats. The brothers have put on display items from their large candy making collection. Many of these late 19th and early 20th century machines and molds are actively used in their candy store when they are not in the exhibit. This exhibit allows for a fun way to tie into Philadelphia’s history as a large importer of raw sugar and exporter of refined sugar. Shane Confectionary itself has quite the tie to Delaware River history. Billed as the oldest continuously operating candy store in America (1863), the store served generations of Ferry travelers as they walked past the store to the Market Street docks.     
It has indeed been quite the busy year with exhibits. Now with a whole four months between the opening of “Oh Sugar!” and the start of the tear down of our next gallery, I should have a little down time. Who knows? I might even have time to work on some of my non-exhibit related tasks as Collections Manger.