We commemorate National Women’s History Month 2017 with a series that profiles remarkable women who work for Historical Research Associates (HRA). Heather Miller manages HRA’s aboveground history program (architectural history and historic preservation), and has written or managed the writing of a number of organizational and administrative histories, historic properties management plans and programmatic approaches to historic preservation, historic resources surveys, and various other mitigation documentation. She works on projects related to architectural history, historic preservation, heritage tourism, litigation support, natural resource history, and overall cultural resources management.
HRA: Before working at HRA, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?
Heather: Most interesting: Reference librarian at the University of Oregon library and at the Audio/Visual Desk of the Columbus Metropolitan Library. It was the ultimate trivia game. I loved finding the answers to people’s questions, which were many and varied. I was also exposed to a TON of good movies and music in the AV department. Most unusual: Taco Bell worker and then night manager for the busiest per capita franchise. Drunk sorority sisters clamoring for their burrito supremes with extra extra sour cream and a Diet Coke at 4 a.m. Need I say more?
HRA: What was your dream job as a kid and why?
Heather: I wanted to be Queen Elizabeth I. Which then turned into wanting to be a historian of Tudor/Stuart Britain. Which then turned into being a historian of prostitutes in the United States (US history seemed to be a more viable option in graduate school). I think I’m pretty much in my dream job now—mostly because I love to do research and travel. Too bad I couldn’t time travel back to the sixteenth century . . . but in the future, I’d like to be a historian for a (time?) travel company, so I can combine both of my interests.
HRA: How has HRA helped you in your career development?
Heather: HRA has provided me countless opportunities to expand my knowledge and skill set—from giving me the architectural history program to oversee for a decade to now allowing me to pursue marketing and business development, which I greatly enjoy and think I’m pretty good at.
HRA: What woman inspires you and why?
Heather: Well, not to be cliché, but my daughters are probably the two soon-to-be women who inspire me the most right now. Although I think the world is a much better place for women than it was 100 or 500 years ago, they still face significant challenges as young women—maybe even more so given the rapid changes in technology that have had such an effect on all our lives. I hope I can be a role model to them about how to pursue their dreams while also navigating the sometimes tricky waters in which we still find ourselves as women. I also want them to be kind, humble, and loving HUMANS and to see all of their fellow humans (male or female) as people worthy of respect and equal treatment.
HRA: If you could interview one woman (dead or alive) who would it be?
Heather: Queen Elizabeth I.
HRA: What project at HRA has been your greatest success, and why?
Heather: I am very proud of the years of work I’ve done with my client and friend Elizabeth Dubreuil at the Baker River Hydroelectric Project. I was also very honored to work on and am quite proud of the ethnographic overview and assessment I did for the Women’s Rights National Historic Park in Seneca Falls.
Email Heather Miller