Lauren Rever is a PhD student in the graduate program Authority and Trust in American Culture, Society, History, and Politics at the Heidelberg Center for American Studies (HCA), funded by the German Research Association (DFG). She is a public historian whose dissertation focuses on authority and trust in US historical institutions. Since 2012, she has worked at museums, historic sites, and cultural institutions in Washington, DC and in the Boston area, often as a public-facing staff member. Originally from New Hampshire, Lauren received her bachelor’s degree from Boston College in 2014 with a double major in History and German. She then spent a year teaching English on a Fulbright Scholarship in Ahrensburg, Germany. In 2017 she completed a master’s degree in American Studies, Museums and Material Culture from The George Washington University in Washington, DC. Lauren believes museums are not neutral and she stands with history professionals against the notion of “patriotic education.”
Influenced by her work as a tour guide, Lauren Rever’s work examines the roles of historical institutions in American life. This includes museums, monuments, and historic sites. Her interdisciplinary approach draws from geography, American studies, and pubic history in order to examine the processes of US “history-making.” She is especially interested in the structures of historical institutions. Furthermore, Lauren continuously strives to place visitors and public history workers at the center of her research in order to upend traditional institutional hierarchies.
In her PhD project, Lauren Rever uses the lens of authority and trust to unpack what happens at points of contact between historical institutions and “the public.” Breaking down these points of contact is a starting point to explore tourism, the history profession, labor, identity, and space – key components of historical institutions. This PhD project is part of a larger interdisciplinary endeavor with the graduate program on authority and trust at the Heidelberg Center for American Studies.