Andy Kirk

Professor and Chair, Department of History
Director, UNLV Public History Education Program
Expertise: Public History, U.S. History, Ecology


Andy Kirk is chair of the UNLV history department and director of the university's public history education program. Kirk's research and teaching focuses on the intersections of cultural and environmental history in the modern U.S. with a special interest in the American West, public history, and counterculture. His research explores the environmental and public histories of atomic landscapes and the lived history of nuclear testing.

Kirk is a founder and current member of Preserve Nevada, a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of Nevada’s cultural, historical, and archeological heritage. His work has led to innovative, collaborative federal and regional research partnerships and has resulted in more than 20 National Register of Historic Places nominations and National Historic Landmark designations across the West.

As a public historian, his projects also include a fifteen-year partnership with the National Park Service to research the historic and cultural resources of Western National Parks and public lands. 

Kirk is co-editor of the Modern American West Series for the University of Arizona Press and serves on several national academic organization boards in his fields. His publications in public and environmental history were reviewed or featured in The New York Times, Nature Science, PBS NewsHour, The Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Preservation Magazine, The Discovery Channel,  and more. He is the author of Doom Towns: The People and Landscapes of Atomic Testing (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016), co-author of American Horizons: U.S. History in a Global Context (New York: Oxford Press, 2015), Counterculture Green: The Whole Earth Catalog and American Environmentalism (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, Culture/America Series, 2007), and Collecting Nature: The American Environmental Movement and the Conservation Library (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2001).




  • Ph.D., University of New Mexico
  • M.A., University of Colorado, Denver
  • B.A., University of Colorado, Denver

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environment, history, Las Vegas, Nevada, popular culture

Andy Kirk In The News

Las Vegas Review Journal
Seventy years ago, an atomic blast detonated in a remote, sprawling swath of desert known as Frenchman Flat was seen and felt in Las Vegas, 65 miles to the southeast.
El Tiempo
Seventy years ago, an atomic explosion detonated in a remote and extensive strip of desert known as the Frenchman Flat was seen and felt in Las Vegas, 65 miles to the southeast.
K.S.N.V. T.V. News 3
Today, it's the coronavirus that gives us a sense of uncertainty about the future. For several decades, that feeling came from the very real possibility of nuclear war.
K.S.N.V. T.V. News 3
April 22 is Earth Day. The first ever Earth day came about in 1970 after several environmental hazards brought about a call for change.

Articles Featuring Andy Kirk

The sun breaks over a ranch house
Research | October 17, 2022

The Walking Box Ranch is a direct link to the world of 1930s Hollywood glamor and a vital resource for UNLV's students of historic preservation.

IT_210127131033_044 copy.jpg
Campus News | February 3, 2021

A collection of news stories from the new year highlighting the experts and events at UNLV.