Date of Award

12-2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Education and Organizational Leadership Development

Committee Member

Bea Bailey, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Lienne Medford

Committee Member

Ryan Visser

Committee Member

Alan Grubb

Abstract

Current literature has suggested that despite scholars in other fields gleaning vast amounts of experimental data to use to hone curriculum decisions and support their disciplines, researchers in social studies education have failed to look at Significant Life Experiences (SLEs) of Historical Preservationists (HPs) for the same benefit. The American Historical Association (AHA) cited a twenty-one percent dip in history majors since 2012 (Townsend, 2017), historic sites like Colonial Williamsburg have been hit by a lack of interest and visitation from the public (Tiedemann & Marsico, 2017), and many local historical associations and community museums have uncertain futures due to potential problems recruiting volunteers (Birck, 1998). The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to examine the experiences and perceptions of current HPs in their lifelong advocacy of various types of historical work. The research questions for this study focused on the lifelong lived experience that these individuals deemed as significant and influential. Purposeful (criterion based) sampling was employed to identify sixteen participants who were seen as influential in different areas as HPs. Data collection included open-ended interviews, artifact collection, and reflexive journaling. The data were analyzed using traditional phenomenological methods such as bracketing (Epoche), horizontalization, coding clusters of meaning into themes, textural descriptions, structural descriptions, and the building of the Essence (Moustakas, 1994). The study revealed that the themes of (1) Family, (2) Sense of Place, (3) Historical Empathy, (4) Offering Historical Education, and (5) Career and Achievement were relevant in HP’s lives.

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