What do public history grad students do with their summers? Learn about the exciting internships and projects that students are undertaking across the country. And check back in the fall for students’ reflection on their summer work.
Anne Cullen, First Year Public History Masters Student: This summer I’m headed to New York City to work at Manhattan’s Lower East Side Tenement Museum as their Oral History Intern. My specific project will be to identify and interview descendants of former residents of the landmarked 1863 tenement, local shop owners, local community organizers/activists, and local residents with the explicit goal of growing the Museum’s post-war oral history archive. Other than my public history work, I look forward to living in Brooklyn, eating delicious New York pizza, and frequenting summer flea markets.
Kristin Emery, First Year Public History Masters Student: This just in! I will be working on a special project with the Chicago History Museum’s Scholar in Residence, Mike Spock. The Boston Stories Project is a collection of case studies from the Boston Children’s Museum, which was at the forefront of children’s museum administration and programming in the 1960’s through the 1980’s, a period that saw enormous growth in the children’s museum sector. The stories have been compiled are posted on the project website for museum professionals, students and non-profit administrators to access and use. Each chapter includes a media page and an archive page with supplementary materials to provide users with as much or as little information as they wish to engage with. My role will be to assess the project’s progress, identify tasks necessary for the project’s completion, and manage a team of interns who will carry out the identified tasks. Perks: Summer in Chicago; working from home sometimes; brown bag lecture series; working for Mike Spock.
Devin Hunter, Third Year Public History PhD Student: After an apparently unsuccessful attempt to secure a temporary position as a National Park Service historian researching the Historic American Buildings Survey, I plan on a summer here in Chicago. But I have plenty on my plate. I will be researching and drafting a National Historic Register nomination for a 1960 Mies van der Rohe-inspired modernist house in Chicago’s West Woodlawn neighborhood. I also hope to resume my ad hoc historical advising to The Plant Chicago, a vertical sustainable urban farm housed in a repurposed meat packing plant in The Back of the Yards. And, oh yeah, I’ll be preparing for my major field exams scheduled for September.
Laura Johns, First Year Public History Masters Student: This summer I will be serving as an historical interpreter at Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park in Virginia. The park is the second-largest military park in the world, containing four major battlefields and five historic structures. I look forward to spending approximately 30 hours a week at the Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center and another 10 hours a week at Chatham Manor. In addition to helping orient visitors to the park and assisting with visitor research, I will be writing and presenting formal interpretative walking tours of the Fredericksburg battlefield and informal interpretive tours of Chatham Manor. I’m planning to fill my evening and weekend hours with thesis research, Civil War monographs, and trips to neighboring battlefield parks.
Dan Ott, Second Year Public History PhD Student: I will be living in the Twin Cities, doing work for the National Park Service splitting time between the Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway and the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area as a web content assistant. I will be polishing up my “new media” chops by working on developing more consistent content and formatting for both parks, including some digital mapping of the riverways to provide better information for campers and paddlers. I will also be researching Army Corps of Engineering wing dams on the Lower St. Croix and river re-routing on the Upper Namekagon River by everyone’s favorite lumber tycoon, Frederick Weyerhaeuser.
Kelsey Walsh, Second Year Public History Masters Student: After finishing the Masters program and getting set adrift from the cushy world of graduate funding, I start my summer as a collector of part-time jobs. I’ll be working at the Pullman Historic District taking inventories and starting to set up an archives with another soon-to-be graduate, Melissa D’Lando. Of course, as bloggers extraordinaire, we’ll be documenting our foray into the Public History wilderness. I’m also fortunate enough to have been re-hired by the Theodore Roosevelt Center as a cataloger for their Digital Archives Initiative. On top of these (and perhaps other) jobs, I’ll be continuing my work at the Archdiocese of Chicago Archives & Records Center where my primary project involves migrating finding aids to a digital format that improves accessibility and organization. And, of course, I’m continually applying for that elusive full-time public history job…you know, one willing to hire a recent grad. Anyone…hello?