OKLAHOMA CITY — Matthew Pearce, Ph.D., has been named the next State Historian for the Oklahoma Historical Society. He will provide expertise and scholarly perspectives to ensure an accurate interpretation of Oklahoma history in programs, exhibits, and the media.
He will also work to engage the statewide community in programs that help spread the OHS’s mission of collecting, preserving and sharing the history and culture of Oklahoma and its people.
Pearce grew up in Colorado. He initially wanted to be a high school history teacher and basketball coach. Instead of going straight into teaching after graduating from Adams State College in Alamosa, Colorado, Pearce decided to try out graduate school in Oklahoma. He received his master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma.
Pearce went on to teach history classes at the University of Oklahoma from 2014-2016 and again in 2018.
He became a fulltime public historian in 2018 after being hired at Preservation and Design Studio, an architecture firm in Oklahoma City that specialized in rehabilitating historic properties.
Pearce joined the Oklahoma Historical Society in 2021 as the National Register of Historic Places coordinator for the Oklahoma State Historic Preservation Office. He was responsible for evaluating, reviewing and preparing National Register nominations. Pearce also consulted with the public on historic preservation and Oklahoma history.
“Dr. Pearce brings a wealth of knowledge to this relatively new position, and I know he will do an incredible job of connecting the work of the Oklahoma Historical Society to that of historians throughout the state,” said Trait Thompson, executive director of the Oklahoma Historical Society. “I have been very impressed with his passion for the subject matter and his ability to help others understand the complexity and nuance of Oklahoma history. Dr. Pearce will be a great asset to all the patrons we serve across the state.”
In addition to being a lead authority on the history of Oklahoma and related matters, Pearce will also manage “The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture” and the historical marker program.
He will also help review, evaluate and select items to be published in “The Chronicles of Oklahoma.” Pearce’s first published article in graduate school appeared in a 2010 issue of “The Chronicles.”
The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma and its people. Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, the OHS maintains museums, historic sites and affiliates across the state. Through its research archives, exhibits, educational programs and publications the OHS chronicles the rich history of Oklahoma. For more information about the OHS, please visit www.okhistory. org.