Assistant Professor of History and Director of the Public History Program
at Ball State University
Hi, I’m Wendy Soltz. I am an active public historian at BSU in Muncie, Indiana. The best part of my job is supervising about a dozen public history internships each year. Through the internships, I get to live vicariously and join students in their hands-on learning at some of the finest public history institutions across the country.
I was born and raised in Northeast Indiana and after spending a decade on the East Coast and in Israel, I was drawn back. My worldview is strongly rooted here with three generations of my family living and working in Chicago and more family in and around Indiana and Ohio. I grew up knowing that the nearby glacier-made lake and the heavily tiled corn and soybean fields I roamed were once dense woods and wetlands that belonged to the Myaamia (Miami) and Bodwéwadmi (Potawatomi). I found material culture; I saw and felt this evidence of a muted past.
As a historian today, my goal is to highlight the silenced stories and document the diverse histories of this region. It is my goal to guide the public into a practice of using history as a way of interpreting their surroundings today. I thoroughly enjoy project-based work with the public and always have one foot on campus and one foot working with the community. In addition to curating public exhibitions, I am a skilled project manager who organizes archival collections, consults on grants, delivers public programs and workshops, and crafts interpretive experiences. My ongoing Indiana Synagogue Mapping Project, in collaboration with the Indiana Jewish Historical Society and the INDNR DHPA, continues to reveal the religious diversity of Indiana over the last 200 years.