Bringing together government professionals, academics, consultants, students, and citizens interested in understanding federal history work and the historical development of the federal government.


New Professional Development Workshops


Topic: Oral History Projects, November 16, 2016

National Archives, Washington, DC

National Archives, Washington, DC

SHFG is launching a new series of professional development meetings for federal agency historians to discuss common issues and challenges we face. This series is designed to be an informal, open discussion of various topics.

The first will be on Wednesday, November 16, 2016, from 3 to 4:30 pm at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC. The theme will be oral history projects. We will have a list of issues to discuss, but please bring your own questions and concerns.

The meeting is free and open to all, but registration is required at


Past Workshop:

A Federal Records Workshop
Friday, February 1, 2013



On February 1, 2013, the Society, in cooperation with the National Archives, held an inaugural “Federal Records Workshop,” in which historians and archivists team-taught sessions on how to conduct research in legislative, judicial, executive, civilian, and military records. The daylong workshop took place at the Boeing Learning Center at the National Archives Building, Washington, DC.

Participants for the sold-out workshop were greeted by Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero and SHFG President Marc Rothenberg.  Thirty-five students (a mix of Ph.D., M.A., and undergraduate history majors) along with several federal historians, and a handful of college faculty participated in the daylong event. Student participants were from James Madison University, Washington College, George Mason, American University, West Virginia University, Northeastern University, and the University of Maryland.

“While they learn in classes and readings about primary resources and how to build their research from them, hearing archivists who work daily providing and explaining how and why to use documents, had a special impact on our students. . . . It shifted the axis from theory to real world practice,” said Michael Galgano, chair of the James Madison University History Department, which sent 10 students and several faculty to the workshop. Galgano added, “Perhaps the most important aspect of the day was the chance for students to talk to archival specialists as people who share the same love of research and scholarship as they do. Experiencing the richness of archival holdings and seeing the openness, friendliness, and warmth of professionals gives them role models to emulate and something to strive for as they begin to plan their own professional lives.”

Presenters included former SHFG President Pete Daniel, Ronald Granieri from the History Office of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Professor Jonathan White of Christopher Newport University, as well as a number of National Archives staff: Kate Mollan, Matt Fulgham, Joseph Schwarz, Juliette Arai, and Robert Ellis. In addition to the teaching sessions, attendees received a tour of the congressional treasures vault led by Christine Blackerby and Sharon Fitzpatrick from the Center for Legislative Archives.  An evening reception at District Chop House was attended by about 70 individuals, including workshop participants, presenters, and SHFG members.

“The day was both an exciting and informative one for our students,” said Adam Goodheart, Director of the C.V. Starr Center at Washington College, which sent a group of about a dozen undergraduate students. “It opened up one of the richest historical repositories in the world—a place that can often seem impenetrable, especially to undergraduates—and prepared them to return as researchers.”

— Matt Wasniewski

Future workshops will be announced here.


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