Mills Kelly

Mills Kelly

Mills Kelly


Digital humanities, public digital history, historical pedagogy, Appalachian Studies, modern East Central Europe

Mills Kelly is a digital historian and a public historian who served as the Director of George Mason's award-winning Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (RRCHNM) from 2019-2023. His most recent book and is Virginia's Lost Appalachian Trail and he is the host of The Green Tunnel podcast. In the spring of 2024 he will be a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Mainz (Germany).

In his 23 years at Mason, Kelly has been either co-director or principal investigator on digital history grants totaling more than $5 million. Two of these projects, created with his colleague Professor Kelly Schrum, won the James Harvey Robinson Prize in 2007 from the American Historical Association. The Green Tunnel podcast, now in its third season, has already been downloaded more than 100,000 times.

In addition to his work in digital humanities, Kelly is a specialist in the scholarship of teaching and learning in history. He served on the presidential team of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL) and was the organization's president in 2018-2019. His previous book, Teaching History in the Digital Age was published by the University of Michigan Press in 2013 (paperback edition, 2016) and he is  the author of more than a dozen articles on the intersection of historical pedagogy and digital humanities.

Kelly has received international, national, state, and university awards for his work on historical pedagogy, most recently the 2019 Gutenberg Teaching Award from the University of Mainz (Germany). He has also received the the State Council on Higher Education in Virginia's Outstanding Faculty Award, a Pew National Fellowship from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and George Mason University's Teaching Excellence Award.

From 2011-2020 he was a trustee of the Romanian-American Foundation and from 1998-2002 was Chair of the Board of Directors of the Civic Education Project, an international non-governmental organization working to promote democracy in post-Communist Eastern Europe and the states of the former Soviet Union.

Current Research

"Appalachian Trail Histories," a digital public history project on the history of America's oldest and most iconic multi-state scenic trail. This project combines research by Professor Kelly and his undergraduate students.

Selected Publications


Virginia's Lost Appalachian Trail, (The History Press, 2023)

Teaching History in the Digital Age, (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013, 2016)

World History Matters: A Student Guide to World History Online, with Kristin Lehner and Kelly Schrum, (New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2009)

Without Remorse: Czech National Socialism in Late Habsburg Austria, (Boulder: East European Monographs/Columbia University Press, 2007)


“ Reframing the Conversation: Digital Humanists, Disabilities, and Accessibility,” Megan R. Brett, Jessica Marie Otis, and Mills Kelly, Debates in the Digital Humanities 2023, Matthew K. Gold and Lauren F. Klein, eds. (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2023): 324-43

“Learning Public History by Doing Public History,” Handbook of Digital Public History, Serge Noiret and Mark Tebeau, eds. (Berlin: deGruyter, 2022): 211-222

“Signature Pedagogies: A Cautionary Tale” Imagining SoTL 2:1 (2022): 10-18

"The A.T. and Race," Journeys. The Magazine of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (Winter 2021): 24-25

“The Class of ’51,” Appalachia (Spring 2020): 24-33

“Keynote: Mills Kelly,” in Geschichtsunterricht im 21. Jahrhundert, Thomas Sandkühler, ed. (Berlin: V&R unipress, 2018): 59-66

“The Politics of Public History Education,” in Public History and School. International Perspectives, Marko Demantowsky, ed., (Berlin: deGruyter, 2018): 207-12

"True Facts or False Facts: Which Are More Authentic?" in Past Play, Kevin Kee, ed. (University of Michigan Press, 2014): 309-328

Grants and Fellowships

  • All the Appalachian Trails, National Endowment for the Humanities discovery grant (2019)
  • Virginia's Lost Appalachian Trail, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities (2019)
  • Fenwick Fellow, George Mason University, 2018-2019
  • Presidential Fellow, George Mason University, 2014-2015
  • Provost’s Strategic Planning Fellow, George Mason University, 2013
  • U.S. Department of Education, UISFL grant Democratic North Africa: Strengthening the Study of North African Culture, Language, and Society, 2012-14 ($96,000)
  • Making the History of 1989: Sources and Narratives on the Fall of Communism, National Endowment for the Humanities ($190,000), 2006-2009
  • NEH Summer Seminar grant, Making Sense of 1989, 2007-2008 ($68,000)
  • Women in World History, National Endowment for the Humanities Exemplary ($250,000)
  • Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Research Scholar, 2005
  • State Council of Higher Education in Virginia (SCHEV) Outstanding Faculty Award, 2005
  • George Mason University Teaching Excellence Award, 2005
  • Co-Director, World History Matters: Teaching and Learning Through Online Primary Sources, National Endowment for the Humanities and Delmas Foundation ($280,000)
  • Fellow, Visible Knowledge Project, 2001-04
  • Pew National Fellow, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 1999-2001

Courses Taught

HIST 694 -- Digital Public History

HIST 689 - Teaching and Learning History in the Digital Age

HIST 499 - Senior Seminar in History: 1989, The Year of Miracles

HIST 390 - The Digital Past

HIST 312 - Nationalism in Eastern Europe

HIST 300 - Introduction to Historical Method


PhD, George Washington University, 1996
MA, George Washington University, 1988
BA, University of Virginia, 1982

Recent Presentations

“I Just Wanna Move Some Shit” Keynote address at the Winter Symposium on Digital Literacy in Higher Education, University of Rhode Island, January 2017

"Community-Based Learning in the Humanities," The inaugural Michael Mizell-Nelson Public History Lecture in the memorial lecture series dedicated to my friend and colleague, the late UNO professor of history, Michael Mizell-Nelson.

“Playfulness, Authentic Learning, and the Future of Teaching,” invited lecture at the conference Public History International: Beyond school? Comparative Perspectives, Basel, Switzerland, September 2015

“Playfulness, Authentic Learning, and the Future of Teaching,” keynote address, University of Kansas Teaching Summit, August 2015

Phi Beta Kappa keynote speaker, Elon University, April 2015

“Assessing Authentic Learning in Digital Assignments,” a workshop at the annual meeting of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Quebec City, Canada, October 2014

“Counting Digital Humanities Scholarship for Tenure and Promotion,” University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, October 2014

“Lying About History,” David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies, Brigham Young University, September 2014

“Blogging for the Historian: Building a Scholarly Career in Social Media,” University of Basel, Kolloquium zur Didaktik der Geschichte und Politik, June 2014

“Exploring, Remixing, Analyzing: Teaching History with Digital Media,” University of Kentucky, April 2014

“Digital Humanities and the End of Selective Ignorance,” Indiana University, Catapult Center for Digital Humanities and Computational Analysis, March 2014

“Building a Career Around the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning,” American Historical Association national conference, January 2014

“Pedagogies of Disruption: What Happens When You Teach Students to Lie?” Invited lecture at the Scholars Lab, University of Virginia, October 2012

"If I stop blogging, what will you tweet about?", invited presentation at the conference Geschichtswissenschaften und Web 2.0, Basel, Switzerland, November 2010

"Embracing Failure: A workshop on failure in the scholarship of teaching and learning and learning from mistakes," International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning annual conference, Liverpool, England, October 2010

"True Facts or False Facts--Which Are More Authentic?" Invited presentation at the conference Playing With Technology in History, Niagra-on-the-Lake, Canada, April 2010

"1989: Looking Back, Looking Forward," Roundtable Chair for discussion between Mikhail Gorbachev, William Webster, and Sergey Chumarov, George Mason University, March 2009

In the Media

“History Department at George Mason U. Puts the Kibosh on Lying About the Past,” Dan Berrett, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 3, 2013

“Interview: T. Mills Kelly on ‘Lying About the Past’,” Aleks Krotoski, DML Central, April 2, 2013

“Mischief,” BBC Radio 4, Digital Human series, April 1, 2013

“As Colleges Evolve, So Must Their Presidents,” Jeff Selingo, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 4, 2013

“Flipping the Curriculum: Introductory Courses Should Be Just as Good as the Capstone Experience,” Jeff Selingo, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 2, 2012

 “Here There Be Monsters,” Brendan Fitzgerald, The Morning News, September 21, 2012

 “Hoax history is bunk but there are truths to be learned from it,” Times Higher Education, August 2, 2012 

“The 10 Most Creative People in Higher Education Today,”, June 20, 2012

 Spark: With Nora Young (CBC), interview, June 8, 2012

 “The anatomy of the online hoax,” Voice of Russia, May 22, 2012

 “How Reddit Caught The Professor That Tricked Wikipedia,” Caribbean Media Vision, May 21, 2012

 “GMU Prof Teaches How To Falsify Wikipedia — and Get Caught,”, May 17, 2012

 “Reddit culture well-tuned to spot hoaxes,”, May 16, 2012

 “The Junkman’s Dilemma: How The Internet Has Changed How We See History,”, May 16, 2012

 “How the Professor Who Fooled Wikipedia Got Caught by Reddit,”, May 15, 2012

 "Graveyard visits offer a lesson in history to Mason students,", March 9, 2011

Dissertations Supervised

Gretchen Beasley, Defining Culture, Creating Identity, Building Nations: An Examination of the Polish Sarmatian Myth (2018)

Misha Mazzini Griffith, Towards a Portable Public Sphere: How Technology Created a Discursive Space in Czechoslovakia in 1968 (2017)