GRADUCon 2020 - Cultural Heritage and Public History



Careers in public history and cultural heritage are wide-ranging, offering ways use research and critical thinking skills to engage audiences beyond the academy. Public historians and cultural heritage personnel might be found in spaces like museums, cultural centers, and community engagement organizations. Their valuable work often involves the imaginative understanding and interpretation of culture and customs from the past (or those passed through generations from past to present) and their accessible presentation to general publics. Join our panelists representative of diverse Chicago-area organizations in a discussion about their career trajectories, the skills utilized in this work, and their day-to-day work lives.


Paul Durica, Director of Exhibitions, Newberry Library (PhD, English Language and Literature, University of Chicago; MFA, Creative Writing, University of Michigan)

Paul Durica is the Director of Exhibitions at the Newberry Library and the former Director of Programs and Exhibitions at Illinois Humanities. From 2008-2015, he produced a series of free public talks, walks, and participatory reenactments that engaged Chicago’s past. He has a PhD in English Language and Literature from the University of Chicago. 

Anne Flannery, Head of Museum Archives, Oriental Institute (PhD, Germanic Languages)


Andrew Leith, Conservation & Collections Program Manager, Chicago Cultural Alliance (MS, Historic Preservation, University of Texas at Austin, 2016)

Andrew James Leith is the Conservation and Collections Program Manager at the Chicago Cultural Alliance. As a fifth-generation Chicagoan, he has deep ties to local histories and communities throughout the city, as well as a commitment to heritage and preservation. Andrew is a historical archaeologist, historic preservationist, and museum anthropologist with 18 years of professional experience. He conducted undergraduate research in anthropology at Loyola University Chicago and master’s research in archaeology at the University of Chicago, and in historic preservation at the University of Texas at Austin. Andrew worked for nearly ten years in the Anthropology Collections Center at the Field Museum of Natural History. He is on the Board of Directors at the Camp Douglas Restoration Foundation. Andrew is interested in material culture, heritage studies, memory, and community engagement. His most recent work involves the study, interpretation, and preservation of ruins, as well as research on grass roots preservation of the built environment at the Falmouth Heritage Renewal in Jamaica for US/ICOMOS. 

Lori Osborne, Executive Director, Frances Willard House Museum (MA, English Literature, University of Chicago, 1985; MA, Public History, Loyola University Chicago, 2004)

Lori Osborne is Executive Director of the Frances Willard House Museum in Evanston, Illinois. She also directs the Evanston Women’s History Project at the Evanston History Center. Osborne serves on the board of the National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites (NCWHS) and is the Illinois Coordinator for the Votes for Women Trail, which is a NCWHS project in honor of the 100th Anniversary of the 19th (Suffrage) Amendment. She also serves on the Women’s Suffrage Anniversary Committee of the League of Women Voters of Illinois. 


Laura Shearing, PhD Candidate, Department of Music, The University of Chicago


Please register for the event. Zoom details will be shared with registrants a day prior to the event.