Alum Spotlight: Joe Vinson, Public History
June 8, 2023 | Brandy Gottlieb | email@example.com
"For years I've called myself a 'local history aficionado,' and I created the website Pensapedia in 2006 to help catalog Pensacola's history in a publicly accessible way, but I didn't know the methods of professional historians. Being part of this program has helped me grow and understand the obligations we have, both to the public and to the other stakeholders of history."
"Being part of this program has helped me grow and understand the obligations we have, both to the public and to the other stakeholders of history."
- Joe Vinson
Joe Vinson is a ‘23 UWF alum who recently received an M.A. in History with a specialization in public history. In spring ‘23, prior to graduation, Vinson received the UWF Department of History and Philosophy’s Outstanding Graduate Student award for scholarly and creative activity.
His achievements and contributions to public history have gained prominent exposure.
Currently, Vinson is team project editor and contributor to “Righting the Past.” The project, featured in the Pensacola News Journal, preserves the memory and dignity of those who passed by writing obituaries for local citizens who never received them.
Vinson’s graduate capstone project, "Lost Pensacola," reimagined twelve lost Pensacola landmarks as vintage travel posters. Currently on display in the Voices of Pensacola Multicultural Center, the exhibit was recently awarded the Florida Historical Society's 2023 David C. Brotemarkle Award at the Public History Forum in Lakeland. The award recognizes creative expressions of Florida history.
Last year, his collaboration with the West Florida Genealogical Society, the 1821 Sampler Project (1821sampler.com), was awarded the Genealogy Tourism Award by the National Genealogical Society.
During the 2022 Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival, Vinson was invited to exhibit his “Lost Pensacola” posters as one of the two "Emerging Artists.” Several prints are now on display in the UWF Historic Trust's Bowden Building.
Vinson says he’s also looking forward to seeing the historical signage at the revitalized Bruce Beach that he and Dr. Jamin Wells, UWF associate professor of history, co-authored in 2021 with a City of Pensacola committee. He plans to continue research into the Black beaches of Pensacola with hopes of erecting markers at other sites. He has also been researching a double lynching that happened near Seville Square in 1875.
"He has completed a remarkable array of scholarly and creative endeavors during his time as a graduate student in the public history program."
- Dr. Jamin Wells
Of his work, Wells said, “He has completed a remarkable array of scholarly and creative endeavors during his time as a graduate student in the public history program. This work has occurred both inside the classroom and out in the public sphere, and they demonstrate his development into a top-flight public historian. Indeed, he has produced new knowledge about a little-known episode in Florida history and he has shared a wide range of historical research with a variety of public audiences through multiple modalities, including historical signage, murals, websites and digital media, a documentary, and newspaper publications.”
To learn more about the M.A. in History, visit uwf.edu/history.