Justin Higner

Justin Higner.

Justin Higner, MA Student

MA Student

What drew you to graduate work at UB?

I was researching possible ideas from other colleges in the area but found the mix of courses and sessions that fit my needs and to apply my interests, hopefully locally. The overall program allows me to be able to be qualified to further pursue a career in Public History.

What do you hope to do after graduation, and how do you see your degree preparing you for that goal?

The program’s diversity of options prepares me for dealing with different kinds of people on different levels then what I had been used to before, and its great exposure! I see myself becoming a participant, teacher, and maybe a leader in the promotion, development, and interpretation of the local, regional, and Trans-Atlantic Public History and Arts fields (S.T.E.A.M.) I want to strongly highlight and unify in conversation our many historic sites, working museums and cultural centers of the growing yet still mostly underfunded Historic Tourism industry. More investments in these unique places can contribute greatly towards our revival as a local and regional economy.

Of those who inspired me early on to go into this field include Mark Goldman, Paul Gromosiak, Barry Virgilio, Herbert Schmidt, and Wilma Lass.

What are your favorite history spots in the Buffalo-Niagara area?

The Buffalo-Niagara Heritage Village, Old Fort Niagara, the Niagara Aerospace Museum, the Buffalo History Museum, the Erie Canal Discovery Center, the Das Haus, Einhaus, und der Stall Museum, Silo City, Buffalo Naval and Serviceman’s Park, the Underground Railroad Heritage Center, Buffalo Central Terminal, Darwin Martin / Greycliff Houses, Frontier House in Lewiston, Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site, Sanborn Farm Museum, Joseph Jacobs Sculpture Museum (Tuscarora Nation), among others. I also want to include, as an aside, our fantastic art museums/galleries/centers, big and small (Castellani, Albright-Knox, Burchfield-Penney, Niagara Arts and Cultural Center, Kenan Center, Hallwalls, Sugar City, etc;) History and art often go hand in hand with me.

However, the most important place for me, personally, is the Schoellkopf Hydropower Station Historic site at the Niagara Gorge in Niagara Falls, NY. As a massive 3-stage complex, it operated from 1913/16/22 until 1956 and 1961. The remains of it and the events that took place there are still stunning to this day! I taught extensively on the subject, wrote on it, led tours, and developed varied programs when I worked there.

If you could have dinner with one famous historical person, who would it be?

Benjamin Franklin. I think the discourse would be extraordinary!