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National Park Service\'s Chief Historian in Residence at Juniata

(Posted January 24, 2005)

Dwight Pitcaithley

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- The chief historian for the National Park Service, Dwight Pitcaithley, starts a weeklong residency at Juniata College as a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow from Monday, Jan. 31 through Friday, Feb. 4. He will speak and participate in a variety of classes and give a public lecture at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 3 in Alumni Hall in the Brumbaugh Academic Center at Juniata College.

Pitcaithley's lecture, "National Parks as an Educational Institution" is free and open to the public.

"The Woodrow Wilson program really gives faculty and our students an opportunity to interact with a speaker for a week, giving a deeper impact than what just one speech would give," says James Tuten, assistant provost at Juniata and coordinator of the college's speakers program. "Dwight Pitcaithley has been deeply involved in telling the story of our heritage through the parks system and his visit could illuminate how we perceive our own history."

Pitcaithley, who is based in Washington, D.C., has been chief historian of the Park Service since 1995. Prior to that he worked as a Park Service historian in Boston from 1979 to 1989 and in Santa Fe from 1976 to 1979. He also chief of the Division of Cultural Resources for the Park Service from 1989 to 1995.

As chief historian, he is responsible for ongoing interpretive study and public education programs based on the country's natural and historical resources. His own research has centered on public memory and the role of historic sites in public education. One paper he wrote on these topics, "Historic Sites: What Can be Learned from Them?" received the James Madison Prize from the Society for History in the Federal Government.

Pitcaithley earned a bachelor's degree in history from Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, N.M. in 1970 and went on to earn a master's degree in history from the university in 1971. He earned a doctoral degree in history from Texas Tech University, in Lubbock, Texas, in 1976. He teaches regularly at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. as an adjunct professor of history, a position he has held since 1993.

He has been president and a member of the board of directors of the National Council on Public History and served on the Public History Committee of the Organization of American Historians.

He has published articles in the journals The Public Historian, The History Teacher, Legacy and many others.

The Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows program was established to bring thoughtful and successful practitioners to colleges for a week of classes and informal discussions with students and faculty.

The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation has developed and conducted programs in higher education since 1945. More than 200 colleges have participated in the Visiting Fellows program since 1973.


Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.