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Lead Historian

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Posted: 01/17/2017

National Park Service
Chesapeake and Ohio National Historical Park

Preserving America's early transportation history, the C&O Canal began as a dream of passage to Western wealth. Operating for nearly 100 years the canal was a lifeline for communities along the Potomac River as coal, lumber and agricultural products floated down the waterway to market. Today it endures as a pathway for discovering historical, natural and recreational treasures!

Lead Historian
Professional Opportunity
Hagerstown, MD
$$18.75 at the post-MA level; compensati

Position Title: Lead Historian 

Agency: Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, National Park Service; C&O Canal Trust 

Project Title: Interpreting the African-American CCC Experience through the Canal Quarters Program at Lockhouse 10


Position Description: The incumbent will serve as the lead researcher on a historical study of the two African American Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camps in the Carderock/Cabin John area, Maryland. The Historian will conduct primary source research to uncover details of segregated CCC camp life and labor, and to connect the African American CCC story to the national civil rights narrative. The project focuses on expanding public knowledge of African American history and contributions to the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Parks (C&O NHP) founding story, and to the park as a microcosm of nationwide historical events. 

The Historians main deliverable is a fully researched, properly cited, 20,000-40,000 word masters-thesis level report on the two CCC camps. Topics to be covered include the history of the grounds, a study of the related buildings and structures, life in the camps, and racial issues. The report will also include an examination of the CCC camp structures built, repaired, or rehabilitated by the workers. Work may involve conducting oral histories with CCC camp descendants, conducting outreach to stakeholder communities, partnering with other researchers, and visiting area archives. The research findings will be made available to staff and park decision makers as a basis for future research, interpretation programs, and exhibits at the park. The project history products will also be made available to future graduate or post-graduate research projects and curriculum-based educational activities via the C&O Canal Classrooms Education Program.


The Historian will also work with park staff to translate research to interpretive materials that engage the C&O Canal NHPs millions of annual visitors. Specifically, the Historian will assist with developing interpretive materials for use in one of the parks historic canal lockhousesLockhouse 10that will facilitate visitor learning as part of the parks nationally award-winning Canal Quarters Interpretive Program. The Historian will work closely with the parks official non-profit partner, the C&O Canal Trust, to design, develop, and install exhibit and interpretive materials, which may include brochures and pamphlets; art, photographs, or other images for interior walls; and wayside (outdoor) exhibits. The Historian may also assist with assembling content and images for the parks website and social media account. 

The Historian will work closely with another researcher on the project and will interface regularly with NPS and C&O Canal Trust staff. As the project lead, the Historian is expected to provide guidance on the pace and overall content of the history products in coordination with the junior researcher and other staff. 

Qualifications: The minimum professional qualifications are a graduate degree in history or closely related field (e.g., anthropology, sociology, political science, philosophy, geography); OR a bachelor's degree in history or closely related field plus one of the following:

1.      At least two years of full-time experience in research, writing, teaching, interpretation, or other demonstrable professional activity with an academic institution, historic organization or agency, museum, or other professional institution; or

2.      Substantial contribution through research and publication to the body of scholarly knowledge in the field of history or a related field. 

Desired Qualifications: Proficiency is MS Office products; Prior experience serving as a project leader and supervisor; Excellent oral and written communication skills; Interest in the NPS mission to protect and preserve natural and cultural resources for the benefit of the American public; Interest in public history outreach and engagement. 

Pay Range: $18.75 at the post-MA level; compensation commensurate with experience. 

Work Schedule: 600 hours at the post-MA level; equivalent to 15 weeks full-time (40 hours/week) or 30 weeks part-time (20 hours/week). 

Timeframe: Work will start in May or June 2017. The work schedule will be determined in conversation with the NPS and the C&O Canal Trust. The project must be completed by January 30, 2018. 

Work Location: The Historian must report to the C&O Canal NHPs headquarters in Hagerstown, Maryland on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Telework during other times is possible depending on stage of research and activities. 


Additional Requirements: The Historian must provide their own computer and have access to reliable transport to/from the work site. Some travel to local archives, meetings, and locations on the C&O Canal NHP will be required.  

OPen until

How to apply
Please submit a short statement (500 words or less) describing your interest and qualifications for the positions and a detailed resume to Sophie Kelly (sophia_kelly@nps.gov) and Justin Ebersole (justin_ebersole@nps.gov) by Friday, February 3rd. Submit applications via email only. Please ensure that you include both Sophie and Justin on your correspondence to ensure receipt and processing of your application.
Sophia Kelly
Phone: 301-302-5532
1850 Dual Highway
Suite #100
Hagerstown, MD 21740-6620

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