NJ Historical Commission’s Sara Cureton: Understanding the Challenges and Innovations in Public History (Audio)

The New Jersey Historical Commission is one of the divisions in the state government set aside to preserve the history and cultural legacy throughout the state. One of its primary goals is to enhance the preservation and interpretation of state history.

This week, I ventured back to Trenton to interview the Director of the commission, Sara Cureton.


Director of the New Jersey Historical Commission, Sara Cureton. (Photo: George Macey)

In this interview, I wanted to get a better idea of Mrs. Cureton’s work, the role of the Historical Commission, and knowledge regarding some of the projects she and the commission are involved with. I also wanted to talk to her about the concerns and challenges that museums and historical sites run into.

Sara Cureton grew up near Seattle, before moving to New Jersey in 1984 with her husband. She attended Harvard University to study folklore and mythology, which eventually led her to the study of material culture and objects. After graduating, she studied abroad for her Masters Degree at the University of York. Some time after she attended George Washington University to get a Masters Degree in Museum Education. Afterward, she spent about 20 years working in museums throughout New Jersey.

“I see myself as more of a public historian now,” Mrs. Cureton explained. “I got to use that material culture studies background, that folklore background, to use objects to teach. I still love to do that, it’s one of my great loves in life. I still love museums and still feel like that’s my home, if you will, in terms of my interest and background.”

Mrs. Cureton has been a part of the Historical Commission since about 2005 and is currently the Director.

This audio clip is only but 2 minutes of my 45-minute interview with Mrs. Cureton. I took some of the most interesting segments for you all to enjoy!

On a future date, I might showcase more of the interview with Mrs. Cureton. She gave me a wealth of information, and she was really passionate talking about her work. She is also involved heavily with the World War I Centennial Commission, which will be a huge event for the coming year. One in which I might be covering in the coming weeks!


Until next time, see you later!


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