Learning on the Job, Part I

Many thanks to contributors Susan Beates, Sheri Hamilton, Marlie Manning, Sarah Buffington, Katie Ursitti, Jennifer Martin, and Diana Le. Tune in next week for more interns.

WANTED: bright, energetic students willing to start with the basics but take on professional responsibilities. Must be able to adapt quickly to an established work culture, become part of “the team,” and show initiative without stepping on anyone’s toes. It is not likely that you will be paid for your efforts (although it’s been known to happen). Benefits may include academic credit, resume-building work experience, professional connections, and new friendships. (Not to mention the instant celebrity guaranteed by an appearance on Trailheads.)

PHMC/Drake Well Museum

Drake Well Museum intern Marlie J. Manning (a history major at Mansfield University) tells us that she “wanted to do an internship for the experience that it will give me for the career that I have chosen. I wanted to know for sure if this career is what I actually wanted to do for the rest of my life, and after five weeks of being here I have found that it is something I can see myself doing. So far my internship here has been informative and enjoyable.” Marlie has worked with curator/historian Susan Beates on collections care, research, interpretation, and (a necessary evil, I guess) administration. She’s also learned a few handy metal-working skills in Drake Well’s blacksmith shop (see photo above).

PHMC/Drake Well Museum

Titusville’s own Evan Ditty, shown on the right, above, with volunteer blacksmith Leon Briggs, is a history major at Thiel College in Greenville. Evan was planning to pursue a career teaching history at the college level, but his experience at Drake Well has made him aware of other history-related careers as well. Having previously volunteered with the NITRO show, this summer Evan also worked with museum collections, research, school tours, craft demonstrations and the well replica. A full summer.

PHMC/Old Economy Village

Old Economy Village intern Katie Ursitti (above), a history major at California University of Pennsylvania with plans to pursue a doctorate, described her summer for Trailheads. Of the many lessons she’s gained, she learned how to catalogue historical artifacts and the proper way to care for them (such as how to transport them safely from one point to another). She also experienced how to keep track of the climate in the historical buildings and what is considered good and bad conditions for the historic buildings and the artifacts. While giving tours to children from the ages of 3 to 14 years old, Katie was able to experience the joys of retelling the lessons she learned to those who are younger and eager to learn. One special moment, while giving a school tour, was when a young girl cried out “Don’t leave!” and gave her a big hug. Old Economy Village feels the same way about Katie.

PHMC/Pennsbury Manor

Jennifer Martin, a public history major at Shippensburg University, and Rebecca Remmey, majoring in history (minoring in Spanish) at Penn State, have spent the summer learning and teaching at Pennsbury Manor. They were instrumental in the site’s summer history camp (in the camp photo above, Jennifer is second from the left on the back row and Becca is on the right of the back row), and worked with staff on volunteer recruitment, curatorial training, and school tours. Describing her experience, Jennifer wrote:

“Out of this whole experience the one thing I can say I really enjoyed the most was the people. Whether volunteers, staff, campers or visitors my stay at Pennsbury introduced me to so many amazing and interesting people that helped me feel like I was at home everyday I came to work. I can honestly say that growing up with a love for history and visiting many sites as a child, my dream was to end up working in a museum. To have a chance this early on in my career I feel truly blessed.”

PHMC/Pennsylvania Military Museum

The Pennsylvania Military Museum benefited from work-study volunteer Diana Le’s writing skills this summer, as she worked on various projects including new exhibit labels for the museum’s “Tactical Exhibit Kiosk” (the kiosk allows staff to provide visitors with changing exhibits related to larger themes). Diana has helped with several museum events this summer, including documenting a patrol reenactment during the VIETNAM Revisited program. A Marine Corps officer candidate at Quantico MCB (Virginia), Diana shared her thoughts with us:

“I’ve picked up many interesting and useful tidbits about military history and traditions since I started working here and love seeing all the artifacts we have in the museum’s collection. However, my favorite parts are helping a museum that not only educates the public, but honors a special kind of people, and also meeting those people myself. Whether they are active, a veteran or even a recruit, there’s an instant and personal connection bound by history, tradition, values, language and camaraderie. I don’t think you can find the same connection among visitors and staff at any other museum. Besides, listening to war stories and watching helicopters are cool.”


Karen said...

Great to see what the interns are doing. In my case, my internship at Daniel Boone Homestead led to my dissertation topic, in addition to the variety of research and interpretive experiences I had at the site. I'm quite upset at the closure of multiple PHMC sites because of the budget cuts and hope that someday the Assembly and governor realize what treasures we have here in Pennsylvania.

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