1. Research and Writing
The first, and primary, responsibility of the Town Historian is interpretation of the past. This involves research and writing on aspects of the history of the town and may include scholarly monographs and articles as well as writing for a more general public audience in magazines and newspapers.
2. Teaching and Public Presentations
The historian may teach courses on local and regional history, serve as a resource to local teachers, serve as a content consultant for historical agency exhibit and public program planners, speak and lecture to community groups, and disseminate knowledge of the history of their locality. In addition, the Town Historian may also be asked to work directly with students and other individuals interested in the community's past.
3. Historic Preservation
The Town Historian is both an advocate for historic preservation and a resource to his or her appointing authority on questions related to history and preservation. Historian promotes and encourages the preservation of historic manuscripts and other records as well as artifacts by recommending appropriate repositories of historical materials, such as local government archives, local public libraries, or historical agency collections.
4. Organization, Advocacy, and Tourism Promotion
Historians are often asked to organize and direct the commemoration of historical anniversaries and to participate in other civic observations. The Historian may be also asked to act as a fund raiser or grant writer to provide resources for historical programs or to use their knowledge of local government to lobby for or introduce legislative initiatives to promote community history.