The Public Education Project seeks to reframe federal government history and promote the American public’s interest in, and understanding of, the story of their government. PEP reimagines that history as the cumulative work of a mosaic of diverse agencies and offices—guided by the president, the Congress, and the courts—taking action to meet the broad scope of the nation’s needs. We believe that exploring and gaining knowledge of the past is a powerful way to correct built-up negative attitudes and misinformation and open the door to critical and objective thinking about all of our government’s offices. We seek through our programs and initiatives to contribute to ongoing national efforts to promote informed civic engagement and greater trust in government.
The Public Education Project operates as a committee of the Society for History in the Federal Government (SHFG). It was born as an independent body after an exploratory meeting in October 2018 of four concerned, longtime members of the SHFG. Judson MacLaury, Lee Ann Potter, Mike Reis, and Don Ritchie (see ID’s below) were worried about the widespread lack of knowledge of the U.S. government and its history. Laying long-term plans for impactful educational efforts, they began by producing a pilot project of short historical videos about three federal agencies for distribution and promotion via Facebook and YouTube. In March of 2020 SHFG leadership recognized PEP’s performance and potential and established it as a permanent standing committee. Soon after that, PEP set its sights on launching an online national identity and educational presence. This website will serve as a platform for major PEP projects in public messaging and K-12 education.
Director and Committee Chair
Curator, History@fedgov; former editor of The Federalist; U.S. Dept. of Labor Historian, ret.
Vice Chair and Treasurer
Senior Vice President at History Associates Incorporated; former SHFG president.
Editor of Federal History; recipient of SHFG’s Maryellen Troutman Award.
Media Production Consultant
Freelance Video Editor and Producer.
Marketing and Communications Professional in the Bay Area.
Lee Ann Potter
Director of Educational Outreach at the Library of Congress; former SHFG president.
Senate Historian Emeritus.
Former Chief Archivist, U.S. Bureau of Prisons; former Chief of Museum Programs, National Park Service; former SHFG president.
Government Documents Librarian, Univ. of Hawaii Library, Molokai.
Museum Content Strategist and Storytelling Consultant; Principal, Carly Swaim Consulting.
Photo Sources: With the exceptions noted below, all photos are from the Library of Congress, the National Archives and Records Administration, and other federal agencies, and are in the public domain.
Sources for images in the photo carousel on the “Agency Histories” page: FAA Facility – ©Judson MacLaury; NOAA Science Center – Art Troll, under Creative Commons License; US Lifesaving Station – ©Mike Reis.