Mills Kelly

Mills Kelly

Mills Kelly


U.S. History: Digital humanities, public digital history, historical pedagogy, Appalachian Studies, modern East Central Europe, Environmental history

Mills Kelly is a Professor of History and a Senior Scholar at George Mason's award-winning Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (RRCHNM). He was the director of 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) and a visiting scholar the the Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History.

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 150,000 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

A Hiker's History of the Appalachian Trail, a comprehensive history of America's most iconic long-distance hiking trail told through the experiences of individual hikers. Publication expected in 2025.

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

  • Principal Investigator, Off the Wall: Digital Preservation of Civil War Graffiti Houses, National Endowment for the Humanities, Principal Investigator, ($60,000)
  • Co-Principal Investigator, Building a Community of Supporters Through New Media and Audience Engagement, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, co-Principal Investigator with Lincoln Mullen and Jessica Otis, ($1,000,000)
  • All the Appalachian Trails, National Endowment for the Humanities discovery grant ($29,000)
  • Virginia's Lost Appalachian Trail, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities ($10,000)
  • Presidential Fellow, George Mason University, 2014-2015
  • 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

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)