Skip to main content


Position Summary

Carolina Public Humanities (CPH) at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, is collaborating with the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) to recruit six scholars who will update and revise historical narratives and exhibits at facilities, sites or museums across the state. Each scholar will receive a research and writing fellowship, provide an important public service, and gain insights into how public historical work contributes to valuable knowledge of North Carolina’s rich, multicultural history.

The DNCR Fellows will begin their research in early February 2023 and complete a draft of their new (article-length) narratives within six to eight months. They will interpret the meaning and importance of North Carolina’s historic sites for diverse public audiences and develop well-informed historical narratives with the assistance of partners outside the traditional spheres of academic research and teaching. Each Research Fellow will be assigned to examine a specific facility, site or monument; the Fellows will be supported by a team of CPH scholars and teachers as well as an Advisory Committee of historical experts. They will also join a network of other DNCR Fellows who will meet for conversations about their different historical projects.

The Research and Writing Projects of the DNCR Fellows

The Fellows’ research will focus on the historic residences of notable North Carolinians, historic battlefields and forts, or monuments and museums that carry special significance for people in different regions of the state. The Research Fellows will review past narratives about their assigned facility, site or monument and then draw on recent research and evolving historical perspectives to revise the exhibits and tour scripts that interpret the historical legacy for public audiences.

Each Fellow will examine previously overlooked sources, illuminate little-known aspects of their assigned story, and amplify past voices that may have been marginalized in earlier accounts of the historical meaning. The NCDNCR scholars will begin with a careful study of local historical contexts, relevant historical sources, and the diverging historical perspectives in surrounding communities, and they will thereafter write a new historical narrative with editorial support from the project’s Advisory Board, the analytical team at Carolina Public Humanities, and the collaborating staff at the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

As the research and writing move toward completion of a first draft for the new narrative, CPH will help organize public conversations with cultural and educational partners who can offer the diverse perspectives of people in nearby communities. Each fellow will thus draw on a wide range of sources and insights to develop a new narrative for the exhibits and a new tour script for future guides who will interpret the permanent exhibitions for visitors, educators, and student tours. In addition to helping organize at least one public conversation near their facility, site or monument, the DNCR Fellows will advise curriculum experts at Carolina K-12 (the team at Carolina Public Humanities that specifically supports public education) as they develop new pedagogical materials to help teachers explain the history of the facility, site or monument to their students. The goal is to foster diverse views of North Carolina history by briefly describing complex and conflicted histories.

Education and Experience Requirements

Candidates for this position should preferably have completed a graduate degree in history, public history, or a related field; and candidates with past experience in working with museums, community organizations, or other non-academic partners are also encouraged to apply.

Qualifications, Competencies, and Communication Skills

Applicants should know the methods of scholarly historical research and understand the specific goals and challenges of public history. They should also provide evidence of skills in writing and oral communication. They must demonstrate a strong commitment to interpreting history to public audiences and have the intellectual confidence to engage with diverse communities as they build community partnerships and discuss new historical perspectives. Candidates should also have some knowledge of North Carolina’s history and culture or know about particular areas within the state. Although the position does not require a current residency in North Carolina, the DNCR Fellows will be expected to work at various times near the facility, site or monument they interpret.

Special Instructions for Applicants

The DNCR Fellowship appointments will begin around February 1, 2023, and the work will continue for about six or eight months, by which time the projects should be completed. Each Research Fellow will work as a fixed-term independent contractor for the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources and receive a stipend of $15,000 (paid in three installments) and a research/travel budget of $5,000.

Review of applications will begin on December 15, 2022 and continue until all six fellowship positions are filled. Finalists will be interviewed via Zoom by a committee of representatives from Carolina Public Humanities and the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

Applicants should submit a Curriculum Vitae, a cover letter, the names and addresses of three references (with information about how to contact each reference by telephone and email), and a 20-25 page Writing/Research sample. Application materials should be attached to an email message and sent to Dr. Joanna Sierks Smith, Associate Director for State Outreach and Strategic Partnerships at Carolina Public Humanities:

Applicants should explain in their cover letter why they are interested in a DNCR research fellowship, how they are qualified to work on historical research and writing, how the revision of narratives about historic sites might be valuable, and why such historical updates might be beneficial for the people of North Carolina. They should also note any previous experiences in interpreting history to non-academic audiences. The NCDNCR is an Equal Opportunity Employer that strongly encourages applications from persons of all social backgrounds and communities.

Examples of Sites for which DNCR Research Fellows might conduct their research and writing: Charles B. Aycock birthplace, Bentonville Battlefield, Fort Macon State Park, Museum of the Albemarle; Zebulon B. Vance birthplace, and Town Creek Indian Mound.

[For additional information, please write to Dr. Joanna Smith:]


Download a PDF Version of this Announcement