The Field Museum, Chicago Illinois
Photography by Anne E. Cullen
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. To read about what our first batch of respondents are doing with their summers, click here.
Rachel Boyle, First Year American History/Public History PhD Student: I am packing my bags and heading to Historic Fort Snelling in Saint Paul, Minnesota for my second summer on the interpretive staff. I look forward to engaging with visitors and sharing the history of the people who lived and worked at and around the Fort throughout the nineteenth century. This year marks the sesquicentennial of the U.S. Dakota-War, an opportunity for continued dialogue about the role of Fort Snelling before and after the conflict. I will also interpret the history of slavery at the Fort, including the story of Dred and Harriet Scott who both lived there during the 1830s. In addition, I have the opportunity to co-present historically-themed day camps for local youth. Finally, as a costumed interpreter I will sharpen my hearth cooking and manual laundry skills while employing nineteenth century speech. I’m afraid classmates next semester can expect me to inadvertently address them as “sir” or “ma’am” due to force of habit.
Samantha Chmelik, First Year Public History Masters Student: The ILHS Haymarket Lives! re-enactment kicks off my Summer of Anarchy. I hope to make some progress in my research of 19th century Bohemian anarchists. I will continue my volunteer work at the International Museum of Surgical Science, demonstrating pre-Civil War amputations to school groups and conducting museum tours. My internship with the National Civic Art Society also continues. The NCAS is fighting the proposed Frank Gehry design for the Eisenhower Memorial in Washington, D.C. During the spring, I researched past presidential memorial commissions in preparation for a Congressional hearing. Now, I am tracking the responses/reactions to the Congressional hearing.
William Ippen, First Year Public History PhD Student: I will be spending the summer in southwest Colorado. Between May and August, I will be working at the Anasazi Heritage Center in Dolores, CO. The museum and archaeological repository is operated by the Bureau of Land Management. Most of my energies will be devoted to developing and improving the institution’s web presence, especially with social media. I will also spend a portion of my time maintaining and improving physical exhibit. Devin Hunter and I will continue our ad hoc historical advising to The Plant Chicago and contribute to the ongoing dialogue among members of the National Council on Public History’s working group on sustainability and public history (case statements can be found here). Aside from reading for exams, down time will find me backpacking the mountain ranges of the Four Corners region.
Rachel Lewis, First Year Public History Masters Student: My time this summer will be spent at Loyola’s Women and Leadership Archives (WLA). Housed in historic Piper Hall, I will be doing a bit of everything in the archives. Some of everything includes: processing collections, creating digital exhibits, and donor relations. When I am not at the WLA I will be taking in all that summer in Chicago has to offer and reading at least one book without foot or endnotes.
Rachel Ramirez, Second Year Public History Masters Student:This summer I plan to stay in Chicago, crossing all my fingers and toes for that big Public History break. In the meantime, I’ll be spending a few months working on a complete museum exhibit overhaul for the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Foundation in Evanston. The museum branch of the foundation is packing up, cataloging, rehousing, and developing a brand new exhibit for their entire collection of the Levere Temple’s artifacts. I’m looking forward to taking part in the process of exhibition development from start to finish and putting my now-complete schooling to good use. I’m especially keen on honing my label copy skills. I’ll also be continuing on as a volunteer at the Swedish American Museum in Andersonville. More collections surveying, database management, and exhibits work are on the docket. My ultimate goal, though, is to double or even triple my Swedish vocabulary—I’m fully expecting to get up to at least eight whole words very soon.