Charlene Mires

E-mail (preferred):


History Department,

St. Augustine Center

Villanova University

800 Lancaster Ave.,

Villanova, PA 19085


Phone (610) 519-6935

Fax (610) 519-4450





Awards and Grants - History and Journalism

Conference Papers and Panels

Conference Panel Chair / Commentator

Public History Consulting and Service

Invited Lectures / Public Presentations

Professional and University Service


Newspaper Articles




Temple University, Ph.D., History, August 1997.

Dissertation: "Memories Lost and Found: Independence Hall in American History and Imagination."

Fields: U.S. Culture/Material Culture (19th and 20th centuries, with emphasis on public memory and built environment); U.S. 19th Century (social and political history, 1820s-1870s); U.S. Popular Culture (mass media); World History (major themes in world history; approaches to teaching world history).


University of Pennsylvania, Master of Liberal Arts, 1992.

            Interdisciplinary study of American history and culture.

            Capstone project: Social and legislative history of recycling in U.S., 1960s-present.


Ball State University, Bachelor of Science, 1979.  Majors: Journalism, Political Science.


Additional Professional Training and Continuing Education.

            NEH Summer Institute, Urban Built Environment, July 1999.

            Teaching With Technology Workshop, American Studies Association, June 1998.

            American Newspaper Publishers Association, Newsroom Management Seminar, 1988.

            National Park Service, Historic Interpretation Training for Volunteers, 1987.

            Knight-Ridder Institute of Training, Newsroom Management Seminar, 1984.

            Graduate courses in English literature, Indiana University at Fort Wayne, 1982-83.




Villanova University, Associate Professor of History (August 2003-present); Assistant Professor of History (August 1997-August 2003).

Undergraduate courses: Investigating U.S. History I (to 1877) and II (since 1877); Artifacts in History;  History and Memory; Cities and Suburbs; History of Philadelphia; Historical Methodology; U.S. 1870-1920; the 1890s; Themes in Modern World History ("Visualizing the World").

Graduate courses: Material Culture; Introduction to Public History; Public History Practicum; U.S. Historiography; Urban History; Research Seminar; Gilded Age and Progressive Era; "Keys to the Language of Scholarship" annual one-day writing workshop for incoming graduate students in history.


Summer Teachers’ Workshops, planning groups and faculty:
            2007 - "It's Everybody's Revolution," Valley Forge National Historical Park (planning).

            2006 - "The Revolution's Hard Choices: Leadership, Liberty, and Loyalties

                        during the Philadelphia Campaign," Valley Forge National Historical Park (planning and faculty).

2005 - “The American Revolution: New Perspectives on an Enduring Legacy,” National Center for the American Revolution, New-York Historical Society, and National Park Service (planning and faculty).

2002 - “History Through Discovery,” Villanova University Summer Teachers Institute (sole faculty member)

2000 and 2001 - “Struggles for Freedom,” Independence Park Institute (planning and faculty; 2001 curriculum director).

            1997 - “History Through Discovery,” Independence Park Institute (project director).


La Salle University, Fall 1996, Adjunct Instructor, History of Philadelphia.


Temple University, September 1992-August 1996.

            Instructor, Russell Conwell Center Summer Bridge Program, July-August 1996.

            Graduate Dean's Teaching Assistant, History Department, 1995-96.

Staff Consultant, College of Arts and Sciences Teaching Improvement Center, 1995-96.

Teaching Assistant,  History Department / University Writing Center, 1994-95.

Senior Mentor (graduate assistant), University Writing Center, 1992-93 and 1993-94.


Philadelphia Inquirer, December 1984-August 1992.

            Assistant National Editor, January 1989-August 1992.

            Chester County (Pa.) Neighbors Editor, September 1986-December 1988.

            Gloucester County (N.J.) Assistant Neighbors Editor, January-August 1986.

            Metro News Copy Editor, December 1984-December 1985.

            Free-lance Contributor, Sunday Travel Section, 1988-91.


Fort Wayne (Ind.) News-Sentinel, June 1980-December 1984.

            Assistant Metropolitan Editor, 1983-84.

            Assistant Metropolitan Editor/Neighbors, 1982-83.

            State Legislative Reporter, 1982 session of Indiana General Assembly.

            Politics/Special Projects Reporter, 1981-82.

            Education Reporter, 1980-81.


Michigan City (Ind.) News-Dispatch, May 1979-June 1980.

            City Government/Politics Reporter.




Work in Progress


Capitals of the World: Big Cities, Small Towns, and Bold Dreams at the End of the Second World War. Book manuscript, anticipated completion 2008.




Independence Hall in American Memory (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002). Selected for Philadelphia Athenaeum Literary Award.


Co-editor, with Allan Winkler, Facts on File Encyclopedia of American History, vol. 9, 1946-68, 2nd edition (forthcoming 2008).


Contributor, The American People: Creating a Nation and a Society, vol. 2, 7th edition (Longman, 2006) and 6th brief edition (Longman, 2007).


Articles and Chapters


"Philadelphia: The History of a History" (edited roundtable interview), Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography (forthcoming, October 2007): 377-94.


"Invisible House, Invisible Slavery: Struggles of Public History at Independence National Historical Park," in Culture and Belonging: Symbolic Landscapes and Contested Identities in Divided Societies, ed. Marc H. Ross (University of Pennsylvania Press, forthcoming 2008).


“The Lure of New England and the Search for the Capital of the World,” The New England Quarterly (March 2006): 37-64.


“Race, Place, and the Pennsylvania Emancipation Exposition of 1913,” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography (July 2004): 257-78.


“Object Lessons: Material Culture on the World Wide Web,” OAH Magazine of History (Summer 2001): 85-87.


“Slavery, Nativism, and the Forgotten History of Independence Hall,” Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies (Autumn 2000): 481-502.


“In the Shadow of Independence Hall: Vernacular Activities and the Meanings of Historic Places,” The Public Historian (Spring 1999): 49-64.  Winner of G. Wesley Johnson Prize for outstanding article in The Public Historian during 1999.


"The Difference This Day Makes” (African Americans in Philadelphia Commemorate the Thirteenth Amendment), Pennsylvania Heritage (Winter 1998): 4-11.




Guest Editor, Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, special issue commemorating 25th anniversary of Philadelphia: A 300-Year History, ed. Russell F. Weigley (forthcoming, October 2007).


"In Search of the American Revolution," introduction to National Park Service Handbook of the American Revolution (forthcoming, 2007).


"Speaking Out for Freedom" (Frederick Douglass in Independence Square), script for Once Upon a Nation history story-telling project, accepted for performance Summer 2007.


"A Bell with Many Meanings," Philadelphia Inquirer op-ed essay, also posted on History News Network, April 5, 2007. 


Foreword, Honored Places: The National Park Service Teacher's Guide to the American Revolution (2007).


"The Search for the Capital of the World," Research Reports from the Rockefeller Archive Center (Fall 2005), 1-3.


“Park Service’s Task: To Make History Accessible,” Philadelphia Inquirer op-ed essay, March 31, 2002.


“Constitution Center Site Bears Buried Links to the City’s Past,” Philadelphia Inquirer op-ed essay, June 26, 2000.


“Preservation and Conservation,” annotated guide to World Wide Web sites, in History Highway 2000 (M.E. Sharpe, 2000).


“Independence Hall,” in Encyclopedia of American Studies (Grolier Publishing Co., 2001).


Book reviews


Gail Lee Dubrow and Jennifer B. Goodman, eds., Restoring Women’s History through Historic Preservation (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003), reviewed for Winterthur Portfolio 38:4 (Fall 2004), 263-66.


Paul A. Shackel, ed., Myth, Memory, and the Making of the American Landscape (Gainesville, Fla.,: University Press of Florida, 2001), reviewed for the Journal of Social History (Spring 2004), 812-14.


Susan Crane, ed., Museums and Memory (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2000), reviewed for The Public Historian (Fall 2002), 151-53.


Alessandra Lorini, Rituals of Race: Public Culture and the Search for Racial Democracy (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1999), reviewed for The Public Historian (Summer 2000), 162-64.



 Awards and Grants



Research Grant, Rockefeller Archives Center, 2004.

Research Grant, Harry S. Truman Presidential Library Institute, 2004.

Research Grant, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, 2004.

Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship, Massachusetts Historical Society, 2004.

Villanova University Summer Research Fellowship and Research Support Grant, 2003.

National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend, 2000.

G. Wesley Johnson Prize for outstanding article in The Public Historian, 1999.

Villanova University Summer Research Fellowship and Research Support Grant, 1999.

Villanova Institute for Teaching and Learning Mini-Grants, 1998 and 2001.

Dissertation Completion Grant, Temple University, 1996-97.

Scholar in Residence, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Summer 1996.

Research Fellow, Henry F. DuPont Winterthur Museum, July 1995.

Certificate of Merit in Teaching, Temple University College of Arts and Sciences, 1994-95.

Kramer Award, Outstanding Student in American History, Temple University History Department, 1995.



Pulitzer Prize, awarded to staff of Fort Wayne News-Sentinel for coverage of 1982 flood, 1983.

Third place, feature writing, Hoosier State Press Association, for series of articles about public housing in Fort Wayne, Indiana, 1982.

Sweepstakes award (top writing award in state) and first-place community service award, Indiana Associated Press Managing Editors, for "Prison Town," series of articles about social, environmental, and economic impacts of Indiana State Prison on  Michigan City, Indiana, 1980.

First place, investigative reporting, Inland Daily Press Association, "Prison Town" series, 1980.



Conference Papers and Panels


“Reinterpreting Our Heritage: The President’s House, Philadelphia,” Organization of American Historians, San Jose, Calif., April 2, 2005.


“Conflict or Convergence?  Forging New Narratives of Freedom and Slavery,” George Wright Society, Philadelphia, Pa., March 18, 2005.


“Invisible House, Invisible Slavery: Struggles of Public History and the Memory of George Washington at Independence National Historical Park,” Contesting Culture Conference, Bryn Mawr College, February 26, 2005.


“The Lure of New England and the Search for the Capital of the World,” Global New England Conference, New England American Studies Association, Salem, Mass., April 17, 2004.


“The National Museum in Philadelphia: A View of the Nation in 1876,” Deerfield / Wellesley Symposium on American Culture, Deerfield, Mass., Nov. 1, 2002.


“Consensus Landscape: A Secure Home for Cold War America,” Middle-Atlantic American Studies Association, Philadelphia, Pa., March 23, 2002.


“Forgotten Fair: Race, Place, and Philadelphia’s Emancipation Proclamation Exhibition of 1913,” for “Crossroads: Intersections of Race, Place, Ethnicity and Life Histories” conference, University of Maryland, College Park, March 9, 2002.


“Whose History Is It? Archives, Memory, and Culture,” Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference, Philadelphia, Pa., May 4, 2001.


“Object Lessons: Material Culture on the World Wide Web,” co-presenter with student Kathleen Cohrs, American Association for History and Computing, Philadelphia, Pa., April 24, 1999.


“The Centennial in Cyberspace,” co-presenter with students Nicholas Biello and John Keigher, Middle-Atlantic American Studies Association, Harrisburg, Pa., April 17, 1999.


“The Centennial Exhibition: Student-Based and Cyber-Spaced,” Nineteenth Century Studies Association, Philadelphia, Pa., March 19, 1999.


“Independence Hall: Memories Lost and Found,” Pennsylvania Historical Association, Philadelphia, Pa., November 8, 1997.


"Historic Preservation and Collective Memory: The Case of Independence Hall," National Council on Public History, Albany, N.Y., May 3, 1997.


"We the People: Defining Citizenship in the Shadow of Independence Hall," Organization of American Historians, San Francisco, Calif., April 17, 1997.


"The Limits of Collective Memory: Philadelphia's Campaign to Host the United Nations," History and Memory Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference, Cornell University, April 12, 1996.


"Evidence and Argument in Survey Courses," Organization of American Historians, Focus on Teaching Day, Chicago, Ill., March 30, 1996.


"Preservation and Politics: Nineteenth-Century Debates about Independence Hall," Graduate Lectures, Presbyterian Historical Society/Temple University, November 16, 1995.


Conference Panel Chair / Commentator


Facilitator, “Reinterpreting Our Heritage” roundtable, Organization of American Historians, San Jose, Calif., April 2, 2005.


Facilitator, “Independence Hall and Cultural Identity,” International Workshop on UNESCO’s World Heritage Education Program, Philadelphia, Pa., January 28, 2005.


Co-Facilitator, “Research, Communications, and Marketing” Working Group, “Beyond the Liberty Bell: Charting Future Cultural Practice in the Greater Philadelphia Area,” Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities conference, Philadelphia, Pa., May 16, 2003.


Chair and Commentator, “War Memorials in the City: The Dynamics of Memory,” Urban History Association, Pittsburgh, Pa., September 28, 2002.


Chair and Commentator, “Reenactment as Social Memory,” National Council on Public History, Lowell, Mass., April 1999.


Chair and Commentator, “The Landscape of Urban Memory: Interpreting Ethnicity in Chicago,” National Council on Public History, Austin, Texas, April 1998.



Public History Consulting, Advocacy, and Service


City of Philadelphia Oversight Committee for the President's House / Slavery Commemoration Project, October 2005-present.


Philadelphia Ad Hoc Historians Group - Advocacy related to President’s House and associated sites in Independence National Historical Park, March 2002-present.


Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site - Coordinator for graduate student research for restoration and interpretation of Catholic Chaplain's Office, Spring 2007.


Valley Forge National Historical Park - Coordinator for graduate and undergraduate research for interpretation of monuments, Spring 2007.


Please Touch Museum, Philadelphia - Adviser for exhibit on Centennial Exhibition, August 2004.


Atwater Kent Museum of Philadelphia - Guest Curator, “The Living Landmark: Philadelphia’s Independence Hall,” June 21 - December 29, 2003.


Valley Forge National Historical Park / Organization of American Historians - Member of site review team for General Management Plan development process, December 2002.


Independence Seaport Museum, Philadelphia - Core Exhibit Planning Team, May-August 2002.


Friends of Independence, twilight tours volunteer, summer 2002.


Center for History Now, Haddonfield, N.J. - Interpretive Planning Consultant, Liberty Bell Center project, 1999-2000.


Atwater Kent Museum, volunteer curatorial assistant, 1990-91.


Earthwatch archaeological project volunteer, Easter Island, September 1987.


Independence National Historical Park, historic interpretation volunteer, 1986-87.

Invited Lectures / Public Presentations


"Artifacts, Political Culture, and the Centennial Celebration of 1876," for "Presidential Elections and American Culture," Penn Legacy Institute graduate course for teachers, Millersville University and National Constitution Center, Philadelphia, Pa., July 18, 2007.


"The Stories We Cannot See," Once Upon a Nation "Benstitute" staff training seminar, Philadelphia, Pa., May 7, 2007. 


"The Father of Our Controversy: The President's House Site and Slavery in Philadelphia," Villanova University Quarterly Club, February 28, 2006.


Panelist, "The National Park Service and Civic Reflection," National Park Service Advisory Board Scholars Forum, Philadelphia, Pa., January 14, 2006.


“Liberty Bell Images, Myths, and Realities,” Independence National Historical Park training workshops for park rangers, March 23 and 25, 2005.


“Fugitive Slave Hearings at Independence Hall,” Independence National Historical Park training workshops for park rangers, December 16 and 20, 2004.


Panelist, “Slavery, Precedents, and Presidents in the 1790s: A Public Gathering at Independence National Historical Park,” October 30, 2004.


“Independence Square, Public Space,” Society Hill Civic Association, September 22, 2004.


“Independence Hall: Where the City Meets the Nation,” Atwater Kent Museum of Philadelphia, June 21, 2003.


“Why Should We Care: Making the American Revolution Relevant,” National Park Service American Revolution Roundtable, Philadelphia, Pa., March 11, 2003.


“Upstairs at Independence Hall,” Villanova University “Things” Symposium, January 30, 2003.


“The Liberty Bell: From Relic to Symbol” (Pennsylvania Humanities Council, Commonwealth Speakers Program): Springfield Township Seniors Organization, Oreland, Pa., May 6, 2003; Friends of Independence Lecture Series, Philadelphia, Pa., October 22, 2002; Lafayette-Redeemer Nursing Home, Northeast Philadelphia, July 31, 2002.


“Valley Forge Over Time: Symbolic Meanings and Commemorations,” Scholars Roundtable on Valley Forge, Philadelphia, Pa., October 17, 2002.


“Independence Hall and the Architecture of Memory,” University of Pennsylvania College of General Studies, October 8, 2002.


“Independence Hall,” National Building Museum, Washington, D.C., September 23, 2002.


“Independence Hall in American Memory,” Dare County Library at Kill Devil Hills, N.C., August 22, 2002.


“Independence Hall: A Multicultural History” (Pennsylvania Humanities Council, Commonwealth Speakers Program): Quadrangle Retirement Community, Haverford, Pa., June 29, 2002.


“Independence Hall: From Lafayette to the New Millennium” and “The Liberty Bell: From Relic to Symbol,” Alumni College, Lafayette College, Easton, Pa., June 7, 2002.


“The Making of Icons,” Heritage Investment Program workshop, “The President’s House: Strategies for Interpretation,” May 2002.


“1900: Becoming American (Or Not),” Upper Merion High School Social Studies Forum, April 2002.


“Covering the War: The Role of Mass Media at the Time of Olympia and Today,” Independence Seaport Museum, Philadelphia, March 2002.


“The Contested Memory of the American Revolution,” Cliveden Institute on “Beyond the Uniforms: African-Americans, Women, Quakers and Loyalists in the American Revolution,” Philadelphia, Pa., March 2002.


“The Incredible Exploding Liberty Bell: Symbolism, Nationalism, and Why I Should Have Listened to Allen Davis in the First Place,” Lectures to Honor Retirement of Allen F. Davis, April 2000.


“The Architecture of Memory: A View From Eighteenth-Century Philadelphia,” Birmingham Colloquia Series, Core Humanities Program, Villanova University, March 2000.


“The Centennial Exhibition: Celebrating Past, Present, and Future in 1876,” Friends of Independence Lunchtime Learning Series, March 2000.


“1900: What Should We Do About the Philippines?,” Upper Merion High School Social Studies Forum, March 2000.


“African American Views of Independence Hall,” Independence National Historical Park Fiftieth Anniversary Lecture Series, August 1998; Villanova University Africana Studies Series, October 1998.


"Historic Sites as Memory Sites," Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission Staff Seminar, August 1996.


"Cooperative and Collaborative Learning" (panel member), Temple University College of Arts and Sciences, Teaching Improvement Center brown-bag lunch series, October 26, 1995.


Professional Service

Editor, Pennsylvania History Studies Series, Pennsylvania Historical Association, January 2005-present.

Editorial Board Member, The Journal of American History, appointed 2007.

Editorial Board Member, The Public Historian, journal of the National Council on Public History, appointed 2003.

Editorial Board Member, Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, appointed 2006.

Council Member, Pennsylvania Historical Association, 2002-05.

Scholar-in-Residence Grants Review Committee, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 2005.

Pennsylvania Humanities Council Commonwealth Speakers Program, 2002-03.

Committee Co-Chair, History and National Parks Collaboration, National Council on Public History, 2002-03.

Executive Board Member, Middle-Atlantic American Studies Association, April 1999-2002.

Record-keeper for bi-monthly meetings of  NEH-funded project, "World History: Teacher Preparation Through University-High School Collaboration," October 1993-June 1995.  Project director: Howard Spodek, Temple University.


University Service

Villanova Institute for Teaching and Learning, Mini-Grants Selection Committee

Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, NEH Summer Stipend Nominating Committee, 2005

Internal Review Committee for Department of Political Science, 2005

College of Arts and Sciences General Liberal Arts Committee, 1999-2001

History Department:
        Internships Coordinator

        Graduate Steering Committee

        Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, 2004-06

        U.S. History Committee, co-chair

        Faculty Evaluation Committee, 2004-07

        Search Committees for U.S. History positions

        Webmaster, 1998-2004

        Graduate Newsletter Editor, 1998-99

        History Club Adviser, 1997-99



Organization of American Historians

National Council on Public History

Pennsylvania Historical Association

Historical Society of Pennsylvania

H-Net discussion groups:

H-Urban, H-Amstdy, H-Public, H-Pennsylvania

Newspaper articles

Numerous articles, 1979-1990, including the following:


Social / Community Issues

"Shattered Dreams," series of articles about local unemployment during the recession of the early 1980s, Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, August 1982.


"Public Housing in Fort Wayne: Facing the Future," series of articles, Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, July 1981.


"Prison Town," series of articles about the social, economic, and environmental effects of Indiana State Prison in Michigan City, Ind., Michigan City News Dispatch, January 1980.


U.S. History and Tourism


"The Three Towns the Bomb Built: Oak Ridge, Tenn.; Los Alamos, N.M.; Hanford, Wash.," Philadelphia Inquirer, December 9, 1990.


"In Carter's Plain and Simple Plains" (Plains, Ga.), Philadelphia Inquirer, November 11, 1990.


"What's Down the Pike" (fiftieth anniversary of the Pennsylvania Turnpike), Philadelphia Inquirer, September 30, 1990.


"Home on the Range of the Mesozoic" (dinosaur discovery sites in Utah), Philadelphia Inquirer, August 5, 1990.


"Thriving with the Past" (historic sites in Boston), Philadelphia Inquirer, July 8, 1990.


"On the Route to Yesterday" (National Road), Philadelphia Inquirer, May 13, 1990.


"Exploring the Fringes of Pogo's Fictional Home" (Okefenokee Swamp), Philadelphia Inquirer, April 29, 1990.


"Philadelphia? Call it Franklintown," (Benjamin Franklin memorials in Philadelphia),  Philadelphia Inquirer, April 20, 1990.


"It's Heads and Tales in a Dark Basement of a Virginia Museum" (Natural Bridge Wax Museum factory tour), Philadelphia Inquirer, April 15, 1990.


 "Countdown to Excitement" (space shuttle watching at Cape Canaveral), Philadelphia Inquirer, April 1, 1990.


"Pilgrims Bowled Over by the Tupperware Tour" (tour of Tupperware International Headquarters), Philadelphia Inquirer, January 14, 1990.


"In the Footsteps of Franklin," Philadelphia Inquirer, January 12, 1990.


"Where Custer Stood" (Custer Battlefield National Monument), Philadelphia Inquirer, October 1, 1989.


"America's Mountain" (Mount Rushmore) and "Good Reasons to see the Badlands," Philadelphia Inquirer, September 3, 1989.


"Ancient History -- in Ohio" (prehistoric Indian sites), Philadelphia Inquirer, July 23, 1989.


"Yellowstone's Trial by Fire" and "This Geyser Lures the Faithful," Philadelphia Inquirer, June 25, 1989.


"Let History Live" (historic interpretation in Independence and Valley Forge National Parks), Philadelphia Inquirer, July 14, 1989.


"On Washington's Trail in New York," Philadelphia Inquirer, May 14, 1989.


"Anniversary Parties to Brighten '89" (centennials and other anniversary commemorations), Philadelphia Inquirer, January 22, 1989.


"On a Subterranean Stroll Through Carlsbad Cavern," Philadelphia Inquirer, December 18, 1988.


"Baltimore's Historyplace," (Baltimore historic sites), Philadelphia Inquirer, December 11, 1988.


"Grandeur by the Rio Grande," (Big Bend National Park), Philadelphia Inquirer, October 16, 1988.


"It's Nautical and Nice in Hampton Roads, Va.," Philadelphia Inquirer, July 10, 1988.