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Public Historian - Gresham Historical Society

16 Jun 2022 12:06 PM | Anonymous member

Public Historian

Position type:  temporary, part-time contractor

Compensation: $18/hr

The Gresham Historical Society (GHS) is looking for an engaging, dynamic individual to become our first-ever Public Historian.  This person will manage the Gresham Public History Project (GPHP), a grant project to re-establish the GHS oral history program, by developing procedures and setting up, conducting, transcribing, and auditing oral history interviews with Gresham-area residents from a variety of backgrounds.  The Public Historian will act as an ambassador for this program by presenting key findings to the public at in-person and virtual events.  

This is a part-time, hourly, contracted position with a flexible schedule of 10-20 hours per week which will last around 1 year or until grant funds dedicated to this position are depleted.  The Public Historian will work in person at the Gresham Historical Society and locations throughout the Gresham area, with potential for some remote work.

To apply, please email a cover letter, resume, and list of 2-3 professional and/or academic references to Silvie Andrews at director@greshamhistorical.org.  The deadline to apply is July 1, 2022.

About the Gresham Historical Society

GHS is dedicated to providing a center for the collection, preservation, exhibition, and publication of material of historical and cultural importance; acquiring historic documents, manuscripts, publications, objects, and images; and promoting knowledge and appreciation of Gresham’s history to the public through educational programs and exhibitions.

GHS got its start in 1976 with the U.S. Bicentennial, a national celebration characterized by local community engagement.  GHS purchased the current museum building, the 1913 Gresham Carnegie Library, in 1989 and renovated it into a gallery and research space, opening to the public in 1994.  Generous bequests from two longtime members enabled GHS to perform long-needed restorations in 2012, and now the Gresham Carnegie Library building appears much as it did when it first opened in 1913.  As our city grows and changes, so do we.

About the Gresham Public History Project

GPHP is funded by the City of Gresham Community Assistance Grant, which provides funding towards programs that offset the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Gresham community.  GPHP fulfills this requirement by encouraging tourism through a robust public presence in the Historic Downtown core of Gresham.  The project aims to engage the public in two ways: first by interviewing community members who have lived and shaped the history of Gresham; and second by making the oral history collection available to a wide audience.  The majority of the $30,000 awarded for this project will go toward the Public Historian’s wage.

Responsibilities:

  • Interview past and present Gresham-area residents for inclusion in the GHS oral history collection, following oral history best standards and practices
  • Identify and approach candidates for oral history interviews; conduct preliminary interviews as necessary to familiarize candidates with the interview process and develop a rapport
  • Transcribe, edit, and audit oral history interviews, including unprocessed interviews collected by GHS volunteers in past decades; enter records for the interviews in PastPerfect, the museum database
  • Review and suggest changes to internal storage, documentation, and digital preservation standards for audio recordings
  • Train select volunteers in certain aspects of oral history; research professional development opportunities for paid and volunteer staff
  • Develop familiarity with the history and development of Gresham and the surrounding area through primary and secondary source materials available online and in the GHS archives
  • Present findings and impact of GPHP to the public through programs at schools, retirement homes, community events, etc.
  • Staff the GHS museum during open hours (Wednesday through Sunday) approx. 1 day/week; oversee volunteer docents/greeters

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree or higher in history, oral history, public history, or a related field
  • 2 years of experience in oral history, including interviewing, transcribing, and auditing oral histories, or a combination of relevant postgraduate education and experience
  • Knowledge of current best practices and standards in the oral history field
  • Preferred project management experience
  • Preferred proficiency or fluency in a second language
  • Comfort with computers and ability to learn new software programs (some database management experience a plus)
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion
  • Experience with historical research using primary and secondary documents, including online research
  • Strong oral and written communication skills
  • Proficiency in and comfort with public speaking
  • Familiarity with standard audio and video recording equipment
  • Willingness to work at least 1 Saturday and 1 full weekend per month

Physical Requirements:

  • Ability to travel independently to locations around the Gresham area
  • A working smartphone
  • Ability to work in person with 2+ coworkers in an open office space


Mailing Address: P.O. Box 8604, Portland, OR 97207
Contact: connect@oregonmuseums.org 
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