Up until a few weeks ago, my online portfolio was pretty static. A more dynamic portfolio would reflect my experience, aspirations and creativity. A static portfolio also seems counterintuitive, especially for a public historian trying to create a space for people to understand how the past relates to their life now.

I am a Public History PhD student interested in museum leadership, museum sustainability, heritage and economic development, curatorial projects, outreach, African-American/Diaspora history, women’s history and art. I work in these spaces professionally, and now I am further exploring them in the academy. My online identity needs to reflect this too.

I am going to write bimonthly blog posts documenting my progress, questions and reflections. Beyond that, I hope this section of my portfolio will become a space for open dialogue on related subjects. Grappling with ideas and discussing them leads to growth!


Check out some of my work at the Center for Historic Preservation. My colleagues and I used heritage tourism to revive a small town in Kentucky.

Originally posted on Southern Rambles:

By Aleia Brown, Graduate Research Assistant

The Center for Historic Preservation takes on a wide variety of interesting projects. Some of these projects stretch beyond Tennessee’s borders. Such is the case with Owingsville, Kentucky, which is just over five hours northeast of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Owingsville Mayor Gary Hunt contacted the Center for Historic Preservation (CHP) for guidance on how to bring tourists and economic development to the small town, which is located between the Bluegrass region and Appalachia. To its residents, Owingsville is affectionately known as “Heritage on the Hill.”

Mayor Hunt and key community members made it clear that they believed Owingsville has a special heritage and that they wanted to work with the CHP to tap into this treasure and share it in a way that invited visitors. In the Fall 2013 semester, Public History Ph.D. students Lydia Simpson, Jenna Stout, and I had the opportunity to work…

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Can we use our sacred spaces to promote racial reconciliation? Check out the blog post I wrote for Southern Rambles to see how New Prospect Baptist Church plans on using their new space to share their connected history with Jewish people in Cincinnati.

Originally posted on Southern Rambles:

By Aleia Brown, Graduate Research Assistant

At its essence, learning and writing about history is a conversational process. The questions we ask shape the kind of answers we receive in return. My inquisitive core always searches for different questions that can yield new and interesting insights.

Working at the Center for Historic Preservation (CHP) continues to give me different ways to think about how we as Americans use our space. Understanding who uses a certain space and how they use it can give us insight that may not be accessible through other sources.

Prior to working at the CHP, I did not give much attention to how we choose to use our built environment. This new approach has taken me down a journey of reviewing past projects and trying to understand how examining the structures associated with a project could have further enriched the final product. I am presenting on

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