Laura Milsk Fowler, Ph.D
B.A. University of Wisconsin - Madison, 1992

M.A. Loyola University Chicago (Public History) 1996

Ph.D. Loyola University Chicago (Public and American History) 2003

Mail:  Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Campus Box 1454
Peck Hall 1233
Edwardsville, IL 62026-1454

COurses Taught
Spring 2010: 
HIST 330 - History of Illinois
HIST 500A - Seminar in American History
HIST 582 - Practicum in Program  Exhibition and Development
Fall 2009: 
HIST 330 - History of Illinois
HIST 401 - Historical Research
HIST 580 - Foundations of Museology
Spring 2009:
IS 341 - The Immigrant in America
HIST 330 - History of Illinois
HIST 582 - Practicum in Program  Exhibition and Development
Other courses: 
HIST 434A - U.S. History 1896-1945
HIST 400 - Urban History
HIST 201 - U.S. HIstory and Constitution, 1877 - present
Directed Readings: 
History of Immigration, Urban history, family and divorce in nineteenth-century America, birth of European museums, urban culture, Public history and cultural tourism
Research Projects and Interests

My research current project looks at the history of Chicago’s downtown railroad terminals as a place where one can see the complexities of public space.  Built initially as temporary structures in the middle of the nineteenth century, the buildings quickly became centerpieces of the railroad and of the burgeoning city in the Midwest. Through this I study the history of Chicago, the railroad industry, immigration, urban history, public space, and the applications of race and gender in these spaces.
Other projects include the Croatian Heritage Project, a community research project that is exploring the history of the Croatian community in Southwestern Illinois throughout the twentieth century.  

For the past two years I have also worked on CUSP: Conjunctions, Ubjects, Stories, and Places, at Southwestern Illinois College’s Schmidt Art Center.  This project interviews residents of southwestern Illinois and asks them to select objects important to them, their families, and the history and culture of the region.  My students have curated two shows thus far and will continue for the next three years.  This is a ground-breaking exercise in community relations, local history, and material culture that teaches us all about the importance of memory and objects in understanding the past.
I also direct the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program in Museum Studies.  For more information, please contact our web page at
Research interests:  U.S. History, 1850- present, History of Illinois, History of Chicago, Urban History, Immigration and Ethnicity, History of Transportation, History of Museums, Public History, and Museology.
 Selected Publications
“Land of Goshen and Opportunity.” St. Louis Currents: The Bi-State Region after a Century of Planning.  Mark Abbott and Andrew Theising, eds.  DVD.  St. Louis: Reedy Press, 2009.

“Lincolnwood,” in Chicago Neighborhoods and Suburbs: A Historical Guide.  Ann Durkin Keating, ed.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008.

“Mapping Movement: Spatial Narratives in Popular Cartography.”  With Diedre Egan, Darin Jensen, and Nichole Wiedemann.  Available online at . 2006.
Book Review of H. Roger Grant, Getting Around: Exploring Transportation History. (Malabar, FL: Krieger Publishing Company, 2003).  In History News, July 2005.

Encyclopedia Entry, “Railroad Stations,” in Encyclopedia of American Urban History (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press), (New York: Sage Publications, 2006).  

Encyclopedia entries, "Union Station at Chicago," "O'Hare Airport," and "Midway Airport." Encyclopedia of the Midwest. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2005.
Associate Professor, Department of Historical Studies
Director, Museum Studies Program