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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of History


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Charleston Field School?

The Charleston Field School is a course based around a series of day-long site visits to Charleston, South Carolina to study various aspects of historic preservation and historic site interpretation.  The field school allows participants to see current issues in historic preservation in action and meet with professionals who are actively engaged in historic preservation. 

 Who can participate?

Priority goes to USC graduate students who have completed the foundations course in historic preservation.  With the consent of the instructor, other graduate students with an interest in public history may enroll.

Why Charleston?

Charleston offers an ideal locale for a field school in historic preservation because the city has a rich and elegant architectural heritage dating to the eighteenth century.  In addition, the modern preservation movement began in Charleston, and the city has continued to be a pioneer in innovative preservation strategies.  Today the built environment of the city and its nearby plantation landscapes provide a useful "laboratory" for exploration of subjects as varied as preservation of African-American material culture, linkages between historic preservation and environmental concerns, and preservation without gentrification.  Plus, who doesn't want to spend time in one of America's most historically charming cities? 

Are there any expenses associated with the field school?

Expenses associated with the field school include entrance fees to historic sites and the cost of books for the course.  Admission fees total approximately $55 per person.  Individual student projects may involve other costs. 

How often does the class meet?

The class travels to Charleston on alternate Fridays. Trips to Charleston generally last from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm.  The course is taught every other spring semester.

Why should I take the field school?

You should take the Charleston Field School because it allows you to meet and make connections with Public History professionals from Charleston who are on the cutting edge of practices in historic preservation.  The field school also provides participants with the opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at popular historic sites in the Charleston area.  Plus, it's fun.