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

KSNV-TV: News 3
April 29, 2020
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.
KSNV-TV: News 3
April 23, 2019
April 22 is Earth Day. The first ever Earth day came about in 1970 after several environmental hazards brought about a call for change.
KSNV-TV: News 3
April 18, 2018
The largest statewide preservation group in Nevada is out with its annual list of 11 Most Endangered Places. These are sites with significant historical value that might just get the wrecking ball or otherwise disappear unless something is done.
Las Vegas Sun
June 19, 2017
In 2012, then-President Barack Obama issued a 20-year ban on mining claims near the Grand Canyon. The move halted future uranium extraction projects in the region, a win for environmentalists and local tribes that had fought against the industry for years. But some elected officials in Arizona and Utah disputed their claims of contamination risk, arguing that the ban would unnecessarily sacrifice jobs for overblown environmental concerns.

Articles Featuring Andy Kirk

view of Earth from the moon
Research | July 17, 2018
How the Whole Earth Catalog’s optimistic message reinvented the environmental movement in 1968
Len Jessup, Harry Reid and Jon Huntsman Sr.
Campus News | November 15, 2017
Faculty hire, expected as early as Fall 2018, will further position UNLV history department as leader in the study of the Intermountain West.
illustration of Maude Frazier Hall and Hospitality Hall
UNLV History | October 18, 2017
It wasn't a popular decision to tear down Maude Frazier Hall, but the demolition had a silver lining for preservationists.
two women looking at art exhibit
Arts and Culture | August 30, 2017
History professor finds the humanity in a Barrick Museum exhibit meditating on the minutiae of atomic testing history.