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Tips, Tricks, Wisdom, and a Few Links for Creating a Poster Presentation

This page was a team effort.

Thanks to these people for their contributions and collaboration of:
David Sepkoski, Associate Professor of History, University of North Carolina Wilmington
Ann E. Robinson, Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at University of Massachusetts Amherst (see link below for a pdf of her poster)
Matthew Hersch, Lecturer in Science, Technology and Society in the Department of History and Sociology of Science, University of Pennsylvania
Frazier Benya, Program Officer with The National Academy of Engineering
Greg Macklem, Society Coordinator for the History of Science Society
Melinda Gormley, Assistant Director for Research at the Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values at University of Notre Dame 
Matthew White, PhD Candidate, University of Florida
The Graduate and Early Career Caucus of the History of
Science Society thanks them for sharing their experiences.

When thinking of how to present research at the next History of Science Society Meeting, most scholars presume that the best medium to use is the standard oral presentation of a paper in one of the many concurrent sessions held throughout the conference. However, there are other ways to share your research and receive the feedback from your colleagues. One of the increasingly popular ways to do this is by participating in the Poster Sessions typically held on Saturday afternoon of the HSS meeting. A poster creates a great many benefits including more opportunity to talk to colleagues interested in your work, a less formal format, and a another to network and build long term relationships.

Recently, GECC officers contacted recent poster presenters to share their experiences of presenting their research in this format. Here are some of their tips, suggestions, links, and all around wisdom.


Don’t let cost or your lack of artistic or design skill stop you from considering producing a poster. You should be prepared to spend between $50-100. Many universities offer inexpensive large-format printing. Check the library, computer center, and printing services. Some provide free use of poster printers to students. If your university doesn’t, then see whether your department will pay production costs. Online services like Mimeo.com offer digital printing and shipping of large-scale PDF files.

Beyond printing, there aren’t many other costs. Indeed, the entire poster can be created using PowerPoint. You can use a recycled cardboard tube to transport your poster or buy an inexpensive clear plastic tube at an art supply store. You can also mail it to your destination hotel for a few dollars. If your university does not offer poster producing services, try some of the links at the bottom of this page.

How does a poster presentation look on a CV?

Many graduate students and early career scholars are concerned about getting their first job and how to create a CV that reflects an interest in presenting research. But where do poster presentations fit in the traditional paper presentations and even monograph publishing?

It would be a mistake to think that humanities departments do not value posters. Posters get noticed, and represent real scholarship of which you can be proud. And in recent years poster sessions have become more common at humanities conferences.

For someone who is looking to add substance to a CV, a poster is a great way to get exposure at a national meeting like HSS. Posters allow you to interact with people during the poster session, and you’ll probably get more exposure than at a normal paper session with low attendance. They are a good choice for research projects that emphasize visual materials, and they can be the basis for future publications. Matt Hersch at the University of Pennsylvania reported that one of his poster presentations led to an invitation to submit to a respected peer-reviewed journal and, ultimately, a well-received article.

Presenting a paper is a more essential experience, and will probably always count for more on a CV, but that shouldn’t stop you from considering this other option. Listing a poster presentation on your CV will demonstrate the versatility of your presentation skills.

Tips for a Better Poster Presentation

Not sure how to make a poster? Here is some advice from historians who presented posters at an HSS meeting between 2009 and 2011.

Some links for more information and services

Read about the experiences of Roger Turner in creating his poster on weather cartoons at the 2008 History of Science Society Annual Meeting. This article was originally in the January 2009 Newsletter of the History of Science Society.

(Provided for informational purposes only. Neither HSS nor GECC endorse or guarantee any of the products or services advertised)

Help with design and planning

Internet based printing services that offer some software support and deliver.

Download Examples of Poster Presentation from Past History of Science Society Meetings.
(Thanks to the presenters for sharing their work. If you have a poster you would like to share, please send a pdf version to hss.gecc@gmail.com.)


1. Poster Presentation Tips! « HSS Graduate and Early Career Caucus - February 27, 2012

[…] The Graduate and Early Career Caucus has created a page of advice and wisdom from past poster presenters at the HSS Annual Meeting. If you are considering the informal networking of the HSS poster session, stop by the Annual Meeting page on this site before you get started. […]

2. Deadline to Submit History of Science Annual Meeting Proposals Is Fast Approaching. « HSS Graduate and Early Career Caucus - March 26, 2012

[…] at the Poster Sessions. Anyone interested in submitting a poster proposal should first visit Tips, Tricks, Wisdom, and a Few Links for Creating a Poster Presentation on the GECC […]

3. Weekly List Bookmarks (weekly) | Eccentric Eclectica @ ToddSuomela.com - April 21, 2012

[…] Tips, Tricks, Wisdom, and a Few Links for Creating a Poster Presentation « HSS Graduate and Early C… […]

4. saiba mais neste artigo - January 16, 2013

Hey there! I’ve been reading your weblog for some time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Porter Texas! Just wanted to mention keep up the good job!

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