I am a public historian who specializes in nineteenth- and twentieth-century United States cultural history. My research typically cuts across three fields: material culture studies, memory studies, and Public History. Simply put, I study how Americans have used objects over time—in museums, historical preservation, monument building, and in other contexts—to exert control over how all of us understand the past.
Moreover, like other public historians working within universities, I study how historical meaning is made in public contexts by participating in history projects alongside community stakeholders. In all cases, my research seeks to answer questions such as: Why do we choose to remember some pasts and not others? Who decides what is remembered? How do those decisions influence our beliefs about nation and democracy? How are they reinforced over time? How are they challenged?