I visited Appalachian State University yesterday to talk to them about grad school. First observation: App State is hard to get to. I guess the only way to get to someplace in the mountains is to go through the mountains - duh. Second observation: The campus looks like a combination of Asheville, NC and Northern Arizona University.
I did not get to meet the professor I want to study under as he was out with a family situation. However, I did meet two public history professors - Dr. Watkins and Dr. Burns. Dr. Watkins was intrigued with my interest in environmental history and public history. He said there are several science museums in the Washington, DC area that would be interested in someone with my background and interests. Hmm. The conversation was along the lines of, "You could make your own master's program here." Both Dr. Watkins and Dr. Halliday, the grad school director, seemed excited that I am taking the senior research seminar next semester. Dr. Watkins said that is where I would be able to "test theories". Hmm.
I stayed for the student public history internship presentations. The presentation that grabbed my attention the most was by a young man who was involved with the Ashe County Museum in Jefferson, NC. He was involved with the setup and opening of the museum, which means he was involved in assessing, labeling, interpretation, etc. - all the nitty-gritty, hands on part of museum work. I was jealous. I was ready to roll my sleeves up and go to work where he left off! I still love museums!
So, where do I go from here? Kick some serious you-know-what in HIST 499. Continue to dialog with App State. Continue to dialog with my history profs here at UT. And realize that sometimes getting good things takes lots of hard work (like actually getting to App State!). Stay tuned . . .