I am a historian who grew up outside the nation’s capital, wandered the streets of Colonial Williamsburg as an undergraduate at the College of William and Mary, and gained experience as a graduate student of public history at American University. Currently employed at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, I believe it is my role to preserve, protect, and interpret the past for future generations.

My current research project centers around multidisciplinary storytelling

Current Work

Most of my career has been at the National Trust for Historic Preservation where I direct digital content for preservation professionals through a variety of channels. My position involves providing strategic direction and content development for the website (I was the project manager for the site's re-launch in June 2016), the Forum blog, and enhanced content for our all digital publication, Forum Journal. In conjunction to my duties I also market materials to professionals via the central National Trust social media channels.

My work includes producing training and content for preservation professionals through Preservation Leadership Training and PastForward, the annual conference of the National Trust.

As an active member of the National Council on Public History I volunteer as the co-chair of the Endowment Campaign and am a sub-section editor of History@Work. In 2018 I co-chaired the program committee for the annual meeting in Las Vegas.

Mosaic by artist Loring Cornish called “Peace be Within These Walls” at the Banneker-Douglass Museum. | Credit: Priya Chhaya

Mosaic by artist Loring Cornish called “Peace be Within These Walls” at the Banneker-Douglass Museum. | Credit: Priya Chhaya

Public Speaking

National Public History Conference

2018: Co-Chair Program Committee, Keynote Moderator: Breaking Barriers in Public Storytelling
2016: Panelist and Moderator: Challenging Perceptions of Preservation
2012: Working Group Co-Chair, Sustainability and Public History
2010: Moderator, Heritage of a World in Trust: Conservation in A Changing Climate
2009: Moderator, America’s Historic Sites at a Crossroads
2007: Presenter, “A Sense of Place”: “The Moodie Forester: Historic Trees, Places and the Past in the American Psyche”

PastForward:

2018: Managed track on resilience, and developed track on diversity & inclusion (panels on allyship, communication, the National Register, and Monuments & Memorials)
2017: Co-Managed the Technology Track for PastForward, Moderator and Organizer for a panel on Transmedia Storytelling. 
2011: Moderator, Careers in Preservation

Tiffany Lamps at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts | Credit: Priya Chhaya

Tiffany Lamps at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts | Credit: Priya Chhaya

Past Experience

  • Interned at the National Park Service working with HABS/HAER/HALS and the National Historic Landmark Program.

  • Interned at the British Museum in London, England (2005) where I developed a poster exhibition for the Clore Education Centre. Through this I gained experience in exhibit design, storyboarding, and label writing.

  • Interned at the National Museum of American History working in the education department to develop pre-school programming for America on the Move. In a previous internship in what is now the Digital and New Media team I worked on HistoryWired, an online exhibit of objects from across the museum.

A few years ago the American Historical Association interviewed me for their Careers in History column.

In December 2009 I was invited by a former history teacher, James Percoco, to speak at the keynote address at the Teaching American History Annual Project Directors Conference.  The purpose of the talk was to discuss the impact of history education on my work as a historian. This was followed by a brief interview about the “hooks” used to evoke the past in education for the National History Education Clearinghouse.

Learn more about my work as a Public Historian on LinkedIn.

Words from attendees at the 2018 National Book Festival. | Credit: Priya Chhaya

Words from attendees at the 2018 National Book Festival. | Credit: Priya Chhaya