Austin Coleman, from Amelia Island, Florida, is a graduate student in the Master of Heritage Preservation program at Georgia State University. He received his B.A. in History from the University of Florida in 2010 with a minor in Education. His love of history began during childhood trips to museums, national parks and historic sites. In fact, many of the brown signs on Interstates 95 and 10 denote historic places he has visited. Through these visits he became fond of topics like Native American History, the Civil War, Civil Rights, and Popular Culture History. Preceding his enrollment at GSU, he worked as a collections/curatorial intern at the Museum of Science and History (MOSH) in Jacksonville, Florida. The stint at MOSH grew his appreciation of collections and encouraged him to pursue a path in Public History.
Austin currently works as a Graduate Research Assistant at the Fulton County Schools Archives (FCSA) and is set to begin similar work at the Georgia State University Archives this semester. At FCSA, he helps to catalogue and digitize their collections using Past Perfect Museum Software, as well as create finding aids, and develop collection and visitation policies. Previous experience includes an internship at the Center for Puppetry Arts, where he was a collections intern in their museum department. Here, Austin teamed with conservators and other museum professionals to condition report and rehouse a large donation from the Jim Henson Legacy. He continues to volunteer at the Center for Puppetry Arts and plans to assist in the de-installation of their current exhibits and the installation of new exhibits in preparation for a new museum wing dedicated to the world of Jim Henson and his puppets.
Austin’s primary interests in Public History and Digital History revolve around the care and preservation of museum collections and their involvement in presenting history through exhibition. With the world increasingly living online and becoming reliant on digital information, it is the responsibility of public historians to adapt and use digital media to present history. Digital collections, whether presented in an exhibition or a gallery format, provide public access to history that would otherwise remain unseen. Digital History reaches a wide audience and offers a new opportunity for their interaction with exhibitions and collections.
Research Topic: For our Beltline project I would like to investigate the history of Ponce de Leon Park. More to come.