School of Education Alumna Publishes Book Based on Curriculum Theory Dissertation



Julia Rose, SOE alumna and author of Interpreting Difficult History at Museums and Historic Sites

Julia Rose, a 2006 graduate from the Curriculum Theory Project in the School of Education (SOE), published a book based on her PhD dissertation with Rowman and Littlefield Publishers in conjunction with the American Association for State & Local History. The book, titled Interpreting Difficult History at Museums and Historic Sites, was released in May 2016 and is part of a series on public history interpretation. Rose’s dissertation is titled Rethinking Representations of Slave Life at Historical Plantation Museums: Toward a Commemorative Museum Pedagogy.

The purpose of Interpreting Difficult History at Museums and Historic Sites is to provide museum practitioners, public historians, museologists, and educators with a sensitive approach to interpreting difficult histories. The book focuses on the methodology for engaging learners in difficult histories at museums and historic site and explains the educational theories behind Commemorative Museum Pedagogy and the elements for developing ethical representations of historical individuals and groups.

Rose’s dissertation focuses on how to interpret slave life at historical plantations dissertation and includes extensive literature reviews, details on ethnographic research studies, as well as the complete history on the slave community at Magnolia Mound Plantation,

Rose’s dissertation was directed by former CTP professors Dr. Claudia Eppert and Dr. William Doll. CTP co-director Dr. Petra Munro Hendry, former Doris Z. Stone anthropology professor Dr. Miles Richards, and Emeritus Professor of African & African American Studies Dr. Thomas Durant Jr. were also on Rose’s committee. 

“How do we engage visitors in histories that are traumatic, controversial, and shocking?” Rose asked. “With the rise of social history since the mid-20th century, history workers and educators are grappling with how to engage learners and museum visitors in histories that can be too much to bear.”

Interpreting Difficult History at Museums and Historic Sites is framed by education psychoanalytic theory and positions museum workers, public historians and museum visitors as learners. Through that lens, history workers and educators can develop compelling and ethical representations of historic individuals, communities, and populations who have suffered.

Rose began her career in history museums in 1978, and has worked as a museum educator, curator and director. She presently works as director of the West Baton Rouge Museum in Port Allen and an adjunct professor at LSU for the graduate course “Introduction to Museum Management.” She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art and Education from State University of New York at Albany, Master of Art in education from George Washington University, and PhD in Curriculum & Instruction from LSU.

“I chose to enter the CTP because I was a museum educator for many years,” Rose said. “I knew I wanted to delve deeper into the education theory literature to look more closely at how visitors learn in museums. My work in American history museums led me to critically consider how slavery was or was not being ethically represented in exhibitions and public history programs.”

Rose’s field of research has a great potential future impact because social institutions such as schools, churches, temples, and governments strive to promote and teach civil rights, moral behavior, citizenship, and social justice values while museums and historical sites attempt to influence visitors to live more consciously by raising the awareness of relationships and responsibilities to the past and present.

“The response to Interpreting Difficult History from the education and museum communities has been extremely positive,” Rose said. “Thousands of museum workers and history educators are pressed to sensitively teach the histories of war, slavery and oppression and are faced with the awesome responsibility to sensitively tell the stories that can be upsetting or shocking to learners.”


About SOE
The LSU School of Education (SOE) offers graduate and undergraduate programs in Curriculum and Instruction and in Educational Leadership, Research, and Counseling. The School’s mission is to prepare P-12 educational professionals to be leaders, practitioners and scholars knowledgeable in contemporary educational issues.

Visit the School of Education at

About CHSE

The College of Human Sciences & Education (CHSE) is a nationally accredited division of Louisiana State University. The College is comprised of the School of Education, the School of Leadership and Human Resource Development, the School of Kinesiology, the School of Library and Information Science, the School of Social Work, and the University Laboratory School. These combined schools offer 8 undergraduate degree programs and 18 graduate programs, enrolling more than 1,900 undergraduate and 977 graduate students. The College is committed to achieving the highest standards in teaching, research, and service and is continually working to improve its programs.

Visit the College of Human Sciences & Education at