JOAN MICHELE ZENZEN
Rockville, Maryland 20850
Phone: (301) 610-7706 Email: email@example.com
Zenzen uses historical research and writing to trace the development of public policies and management decisions, aiding government agencies in meeting their legal responsibilities and promoting actions for the public’s benefit.
Ph.D. University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland
American Studies, 1997
Dissertation: “Promoting National Parks: Images of the West in the American Imagination, 1864-1972”
M.A. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
American History, 1988
B.A. University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois
B.S. University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois
At the Crossroads of Preservation and Development: A History of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, August 2011
Bridging the Past: An Administrative History of Minute Man National Historical Park, National Park Service, 2010
Fort Stanwix National Monument: Reconstructing the Past and Partnering for the Future, State University of New York Press, 2008; paperback, 2009
Automating the Future: A History of the Automated Manufacturing Research Facility 1980-1995, United States Government Printing Office, 2001
Battling for Manassas: The Fifty-Year Preservation Struggle at Manassas National Battlefield Park, Pennsylvania State University Press, 1998; paperback forthcoming in 2011
the Nuclear Arsenal: American Production-Reactor Technology, Management,
and Policy 1942-1992, by Rodney P.
Carlisle with Joan M. Zenzen,
Is Service”: A History of the
“Administrative Histories: Writing about Fort Stanwix National Monument,” The Public Historian, May 2009
Book review: Ethan Carr, Mission 66: Modernism and the National Park Dilemma, The Public Historian, May 2008
Book review: Annie Gilbert Coleman, Ski Style: Sport and Culture in the Rockies, Environmental History, April 2005
“Producing the Pasts of a National Park,” American Historical Association Perspectives, February 2000
Ken Burns’s The West, “History of a Myth,” American Quarterly, June 1997
Public Historian, self-employed, 1999-present
2014-present: Wrote proposal and won award to write a special history study for Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, under a cooperative agreement with the National Park Service (NPS) and the Organization of American Historians (OAH).
2014-present: Wrote proposal and won award to conduct 40 oral history interviews about the history of Catoctin Mountain Park for the National Park Service.
January-April 2014: Conducted six oral history interviews for the Gettysburg Foundation to establish the beginnings of the organization.
2012-2013: Conducted research and wrote two chapters for the administrative history of Tumacacori National Monument, as a subcontractor for Aarcher, Incorporated.
2012-present: Wrote proposal and competitively won award to write administrative history of Voyageurs National Park, under contract with the National Park Service.
2009-2011: Wrote proposal and won award to write administrative history of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, under a cooperative agreement with the National Park Service (NPS) and the Organization of American Historians (OAH).
Research and writing: Conducted primary source research in park archives, local historical society and library, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), and online sources. Reviewed secondary sources on segregation, race relations in Virginia, Civil War battles, reenactment, Civilian Conservation Corps, urban sprawl, and other topics. Completed 20 oral history interviews with park officials, local residents (both supportive of and opposed to the park), county officials, and local elected officials. Wrote a six-chapter book including maps and photographs, appendices, and an epilogue.
Results: Book includes management recommendations to connect the history of the park with future planning. Zenzen critically examined each facet of the park’s history, including its long adherence to military tactics and to its southern-leaning Lost Cause tradition in an analysis section at the end of each chapter. This cutting-edge history, examining for the first-time specific ways in which development effected park interpretation and land acquisition, serves park management as it completes a new General Management Plan (GMP). Zenzen served as a resource for the park superintendent, chief historian, and cultural resources manager, sharing her research findings.
2004-2007: Wrote proposal and won award to write administrative history of Minute Man National Historical Park, under a cooperative agreement with NPS and OAH.
Research and writing: Zenzen conducted primary source research in park archives, local libraries, NARA, and the Federal Records Center (FRC) in Waltham, MA. Reviewed secondary sources on American Revolutionary War and urban sprawl issues. Completed 17 oral history interviews with park officials, local elected representatives, business and development interests, and local residents (both supportive of and opposed to the park). Completed ten-chapter book with photographs, maps, and appendices.
Results: This history served as a resource for the park during a GMP effort and when the park celebrated its 50th anniversary.
2002-2004: Wrote proposal and won award to write administrative history of Fort Stanwix National Monument, under contract with NPS.
Research and writing: Zenzen conducted primary source research in park archives, local library and historical society collections, NARA, and FRC-Waltham. Reviewed secondary sources on the history of the local area, the 1777 siege, reconstruction, reenactment, urban renewal, and other topics. Conducted 19 oral history interviews with Park Service officials, a United States congressional representative, local residents (both supportive of and opposed to the park), locally elected officials, state government representatives, and business owners.
Results: This seven-chapter book, published by SUNY Press, has provided past and current park superintendents with crucial and necessary background for understanding key issues that continue to confront the park and its relationships with local officials and residents. One former park superintendent wrote in The Public Historian about how Zenzen’s research findings and sharing of information with the park helped him address contested issues. Zenzen gave an invited talk at the local historical society in 2004.
Reviews: “[Zenzen] takes a fairly complicated process, the early development of what would become the battlefield parks, and presents it clearly and concisely...”
BUYNAK, book review of
“As an administrative history, Zenzen’s account contains some details that will interest only a limited audience. But, overall, this book belongs on the shelf of anyone who wants to know how people work—and work it is—to create and maintain historic sites.” JUDITH WELLMAN of Historical New York Research Associates, review of Fort Stanwix National Monument in The Public Historian
1999-2002: Wrote proposal and won award to write a history of the Automated Manufacturing Research Facility at the National Institute of Standards and Technology under a contract with NIST.
Research and writing: Zenzen conducted primary source research at the laboratory and reviewed engineering and manufacturing journals at the University of Maryland libraries. Conducted 35 oral history interviews with scientists and engineers involved in the program. Wrote a five-chapter book, including photographs and appendices. Wrote an informational brochure about the Manufacturing Laboratory.
Results: This history captured a unique point in the history of the manufacturing engineering lab’s work and helped NIST mark its centennial. Zenzen gave an invited talk at NIST in March 2001.
President, Board of Directors, Peerless Rockville Historic Preservation (a local nonprofit organization with an annual budget of about $180,000), 2006-2010; Director 2002-2010; volunteer for various committees 1998-present
As President of the Board: ensured a smooth transition from the longtime executive director to a newly hired one; met directly with members to address concerns and answer questions about the change; completed a strategic planning exercise and implemented the new plan; directly raised $40,000 in donations; appeared before the Mayor and Council at televised sessions twice a year to summarize the work of the organization and ask for funding; ensured that the Board of Directors obtained and used fundraising training from the Maryland Association for Nonprofit Organizations; served as facilitator for a Recent Past Symposium co-sponsored by Peerless Rockville, the City of Rockville, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and local, county, and state preservation organizations; participated in setting new policies on fundraising, collections, and employee benefits and expectations
As a volunteer for Peerless Rockville: (2011) Spoke on behalf of historic district designation for Glenview Mansion and its grounds at Mayor and Council and Planning Commission meetings, reviewing the concepts of environmental setting and protection versus recognition with local and national designation; (2004-2005) conducted four oral history interviews with former students and teachers who went from segregated to integrated schools in Rockville, MD, and participated in all aspects of the planning for a traveling exhibit “Rockville on the Road to Brown: Schooling Our Children from Segregation to Integration;” (2003-2006) served as Collections Committee chair, guiding fellow members in developing policy and ensuring safety and usage of collections, helping create short-term exhibits (on the history of libraries in Rockville and veterans) for the Rockville Regional Library; (2002-2006) Committee chair, Educational Programming, developed various lecture series and other events on history of Rockville; (2000-2001) created a Guide to Resources on documentary collections held by Peerless Rockville; (1998-1999) served on 25th Anniversary Gala committee and helped plan the celebration
Historian, History Associates Incorporated, 1989-1995
1993-1995: Project manager and historian. History of the preservation struggles at Manassas National Battlefield Park. Wrote proposal and won contract with NPS.
Research and writing: Trained and supervised a research historian in primary source research. Reviewed secondary sources on Civil War battles, urban sprawl, and other topics. Conducted research at park archives, Library of Congress, NARA, FRC-Washington, local library, and in Prince William County records. Completed 23 oral history interviews with Park Service officials, local residents (both supportive of and opposed to the park), a United States Senator, a former US congressional representative, locally elected officials, a key developer, preservationists, and an important representative from the Walt Disney Company.
Results: The 11-chapter book, published by Penn State Press, continues to serve park managers and is spoken highly of by Park Service historians as a model for other administrative histories. This book represented cutting-edge research and writing about park development threats and land acquisition strategies. Gave an invited talk at the park in 1995 and gave another one in 2011 on the day of the sesquicentennial.
Reviews: “In the course of developing the park’s
history, Zenzen has given us a concise history of battlefield
preservation… The author does an excellent job of explaining these
preservation efforts without getting hopelessly lost in the details…
Through the maze of legislation and politics, the author skillfully traces the
frustrating attempts and near misses as various people and groups tried
unsuccessfully to have the importance of
1993-1996: Project manager, U.S. Department of Energy Historic Incidents Database project. Completed research in primary and secondary sources, wrote and edited reports, supervised a team of three historians in their writing of reports. This database served as a resource to DOE employees during incidents.
1992-1993: Project manager, U.S. Department of Energy, environmental site histories of three nuclear facilities. Completed primary source research at three facilities, including Hanford and Los Alamos, and wrote reports, providing crucial historical information for planning waste removal.
1992-1994: Historian, U.S. Department of Energy, history of production reactors. Trained and supervised two research historians in primary source research; collaborated with senior historian and co-founder Rodney Carlisle on the research and writing of a history of nuclear production reactors; wrote two chapters of the original manuscript; edited other chapters. This history chronicled for the first time the development of the Hanford and Savannah River production reactors in relationship to the overall governmental program.
1991: Historian, co-wrote a history of the Cornell School of Hotel Management using research begun by another historian and completed by Zenzen and co-author Dian Belanger. This history was accepted by the Cornell University School of Hotel Management.
1989-1991: Historian, completed litigation-related research on World War II and other topics; conducted research at NARA, Library of Congress, American Petroleum Institute, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and other facilities.
2013-present: Serve as copyeditor for the History@Work blog of the National Council for Public History
2010-2014: Served as editor for the Society for History in the Federal Government’s newsletter column, Federal History Office profiles
2010: Developed a short digital video for Toastmasters club webpage
July 2011 interview by journalist Clint Schemmer about preservation of battlefield lands, appearing in 23 July issue of Fredericksburg, VA, Free Lance-Star
February 2008 interview by journalist Warren Parish for article in Gazette newspaper about new Executive Director of Peerless Rockville
June 2007 interview by journalist Warren Parish for article in Gazette newspaper about retirement of longtime Executive Director of Peerless Rockville
October 2006 role as facilitator for a daylong taped Recent Past Symposium co-sponsored by Peerless Rockville, Rockville Historic District, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Preservation Maryland, Montgomery County Historic Preservation Commission, and Recent Past Preservation Network, later televised on the City of Rockville cable television channel
November 1997 on-air televised interview with Terry Perkins of Fox Morning News local Washington, DC, affiliate about Battling for Manassas book
Summer 1995 filmed interview for George Washington University’s Center for History in the Media documentary “Wildland to Wonderland: The Hayden Expedition to Yellowstone”
Workshop Participant, “Fundamentals of Doing History in the National Park Service: NPS 101,” Organization of American Historians Annual Meeting, San Francisco, California, April 2013
Invited Talk, “Woodley Gardens: A Traditional Neighborhood with a Modern Twist,” Peerless Rockville Lecture Series on the Recent Past, April 2013
Invited Talk at the 150th Commemoration, “War and Remembrance: The Henry Farm from Battlefield to Memorial,” Manassas National Battlefield Park, July 2011
“Planes, Trucks, and Automobiles: Four National Battlefield Parks and Their Roads,” National Council on Public History (NCPH) Annual Meeting with the American Society of Environmental Historians (ASEH), Portland, Oregon, March 2010
“This Place Matters: The Restoration of Frieda’s Cottage,” NCPH Annual Meeting, Providence, Rhode Island, April 2009
“Fort Stanwix National Monument: Education through Participation,” Researching New York Conference, Albany, New York, November 2008
Working Group participant, “Finding Common Ground between Interpreters and Historians,” NCPH Annual Meeting, Louisville, Kentucky, April 2008
“The Tourists Are Coming!:” Negotiation and Compromise at Minute Man National Historical Park.” NCPH Annual Meeting, Santa Fe, New Mexico, April 2007
Commentator for session, Preserving, Collecting, and Teaching the History of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, NCPH Annual Meeting, Kansas City, Missouri, April 2005
Joining Together to Preserve and Remember:
“Writing Administrative Histories,” National Park Service Historian’s Meeting, Boston, March 2004
“Advancing the Second Industrial Revolution: The Automated Manufacturing Research Facility at the National Institute of Standards and Technology,” NCPH Annual Meeting, Ontario, Ottawa, April 2001
“The Automated Manufacturing Research Facility: How Robots, Scientists, Engineers, and American Manufacturing Came Together,” National Institute for Standards and Technology invited lecture, March 2001
“National Park Year 1934: How Two Women Packaged and Promoted the National Parks,” American Heritage Center Annual Symposium, Laramie, Wyoming, September 2000
“Of Paintings and Parks: The Importance of Visual Imagery in Understanding the Meaning of National Parks,” NCPH Annual Meeting, Lowell, Massachusetts, April 1999
“Lessons from the Past: History as Practiced at Manassas National Battlefield Park,” NCPH Annual Meeting, Lowell, Massachusetts, April 1999
“Thomas Moran and Wonderland: The Changing Meaning of National Parks,” American Studies Association Annual Meeting, Kansas City, Missouri, November 1996
“Landscape, Nationalism, and the U.S. National Parks,” international conference, Landscape and Northern National Identity, University of Helsinki, November 1994, internally published
“Preserving Land for History’s Sake: The U.S. National Park Service and Manassas National Battlefield Park,” guest lecturer at the University of Technology, Helsinki, Finland, November 1994
University of Maryland, American Studies Department, administration of grant from the Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record, 1992-1993
Grants, Contracts, and Cooperative Agreements
National Park Service (NPS) and Organization of American Historians (OAH), 2009 competitively won cooperative agreement to write history of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park
NPS and OAH, 2004 cooperative agreement to write history of Minute Man National Historical Park
NPS, 2002 competitively won contract to write history of Fort Stanwix National Monument, plus add-on to revise the manuscript for university press publication
National Institute of Standards and Technology, 1999 contract to write history of the Automated Manufacturing Research Facility, with add-on to write informational brochure
Kaplan Fund, February 1996, grant for turning manuscript on
Honors and Teaching
Adjunct Professor, American Studies Department, George Washington University, Spring 2013: Theory and Practice of Public History course
Graduate Student Teaching Assistantship, American Studies Department, University of Maryland, 1995: Designed course to focus on the history and cultures of Maryland
Graduate Student Teaching Assistantship, American Studies Department, University of Maryland, 1993: Designed course to focus on the idea of culture
Professional Service and Memberships
Nominating Committee, National Council on Public History, 2012-present
National Parks Advisory Committee, Organization of American Historians, 2013-present
Assistant Editor, History Office Profiles, Society for History in the Federal Government newsletter, 2010-2014
Area Governor, July 2009-June 2010, Toastmasters International, District 36
Business Oriented Toastmasters, 2000-present, achievement of Distinguished Toastmaster, July 2011
Editorial Board, The Public Historian, 2006-2011
Member, National Council on Public History, 1994-present
Member, Society for History in the Federal Government, 1994-present
Member, Organization of American Historians, 2004-present (previously a member in the 1980s-1990s)