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About Dr. Neva Specht

Neva Jean Specht [pronounced spake] is vice provost for faculty policies and development and professor of history at Appalachian State University. As a public historian and material culturalist, she is interested in material culture and the understanding of the past through objects -- the tools, architecture, furnishings, landscapes and other items crafted by human beings. She and her students have worked with a number of community partners. She teaches courses on museum education, public programming, living history and material culture, as well as the history of pirates and the Blue Ridge Parkway.  She has served on the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum’s Board, Blue Ridge Parkway 75, and currently sits on the Town of Boone’s Cultural Resource Advisory Board. She also is a former board chair of the North Carolina Humanities Council.

From 2007-13, she served as Appalachian’s first University Liaison to the Blue Ridge Parkway, developing an internship program for students and directing two National Endowment for the Humanities Landmarks in History and Culture grants focused on the Parkway for high school teachers. She also completed a historic furnishing report for the Blowing Rock home of Moses and Bertha Cone for the National Park Service (NPS), and conducted a number of oral histories for the NPS.

Before coming to Appalachian in 1996, she worked for the Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums, Historical Society of Delaware, and the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, New York. Her research has focused on community formation among the Society of Friends [Quakers] in trans-Appalachia in the years following the American Revolution.

Areas of Expertise
Public History
U.S. history before 1830
Material culture
Moses and Bertha Cone and their Flat Top Manor, now Moses Cones Memorial Park
Blue Ridge Parkway
The value of a liberal arts education
Quakers in the 17th and 18th century


Present Professor, Appalachian State University Department of History
Present Vice Provost for Faculty Policies and Development, Appalachian State University Academic Affairs
2017 - 2021 Dean, Appalachian State University College of Arts and Sciences


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Honors and Awards

  • Recipient of the Transforming North Carolina Faculty Research Award, 2010
  • Recipient of an Appalachian Board of Governor’s Teaching Award, 2009
  • Nominated for the Rennie W. Brantz Award for Outstanding Teaching in First Year Seminar, 2014
  • Recipient of the Jimmy Smith Service Award, College of Arts and Sciences, 2008
  • Nominated for Board of Governors Teaching Award, 2008
  • Communal Studies Association Starting Scholar Award, 2002


  • Pirates and their Atlantic World
  • Exhibits and Public Programming
  • Architecture and Society
  • Living History
  • Past, Present, and Future of the Blue Ridge Parkway


Ph.D., University of Delaware ‐ History
M.A., University of Delaware ‐ American History, with Museum Studies Certification
B.A., Grinnell College ‐ History and American Studies

Contact Information

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