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Not just Lincoln: Illinois is seeking a state historian and broadening the job's focus

Lincoln tomb

If you are an expert in state history, Illinois might have a job for you.

A search will be done for a new state historian to “bring history alive for new audiences, particularly young people,” according to an announcement.

The position was previously held by a state employee who was an Abraham Lincoln expert. Now, the appointment will last just two years and can go to anyone with the proper credentials, no matter where they work or their historical focus. According to the posting, the approach is similar to the way the Library of Congress handles the post of U.S. poet laureate.

"The goal is to have an array of historians who will be able to excite new audiences about different strands of Illinois history," the posting reads.

The board of trustees for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum will lead the first phase and assess candidates. The board will then recommend candidates to Governor JB Pritzker, who will make the final decision.

Millikin University history professor Dan Monroe will chair the search.

“Illinois is doing something important by reinventing the position of state historian. It’s a chance to explore overlooked parts of the Illinois story, amplify new voices, and reach folks who might not realize how exciting history can be,” said Dr. Monroe. “We want to cast a wide net in our search for candidates.”

According to the posting, the state historian will need expertise in the history of at least one underrepresented minority group. They must also do public outreach and have a track record of community engagement and service to Illinois history.

More information is available here.

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