Walking to class one day across the Simpson College campus, Laura Keller realized her passion for bringing the past alive in the present may be a bit…excessive. Maybe it was the winter breeze through her white tights, or the discomfort of her knee length breeches and the too-tight tricorne on loan from the theater department. The epiphany was most likely manifested, however, in the form of the men’s cross country team. As they swarmed past her with bewildered stares, her pride swelled as she heard comments such as, “The Fourth of July is six months away,” and, “Is that George Washington?”

LafayetteIt was then that she knew her love of history would best serve and be served on the other side of the historical plaque.

Within the Public History program at Arizona State University, Laura found her kindred spirits. She recently completed her Master’s thesis on the representations of American Indian people and culture in Charles Willson Peale’s Philadelphia museum. Appropriately entitled “‘The Art of Civilization’: America on Display at Peale’s Museum,” she successfully defended it earlier this spring. She also completed a Certificate in Museum Studies from ASU in Fall 2014.

Laura is currently working with the Arizona State Archives as a Web Archivist. She is fulfilling a LSTA grant for the State of Arizona to archive the websites of state agencies and departments using Archive-It web archiving software. She also volunteers regularly with the Tempe History Museum curatorial department. She is currently assisting them with research, oral histories and object procurement for an exhibit on the former Legend City Amusement Park to open in November 2015. She has completed research and interpretive projects for Fort Union National Monument and Wupatki National Monument. In 2012, Laura served as the exhibit design and curatorial intern at Autry National Center in Los Angeles.