Internship in History
The Internship in History (HIST 340/640) gives students practical experience in using historical skills in a wide variety of settings ranging from museums to archives and historical research firms. For information on internship policies, see Internship Procedures for the Department of History and the Student Learning Contract. The department also supports and encourages graduate students who seek internship experience. For information on internships at the graduate level, contact the Internship Coordinator, Dr. Kevin Borg, at email@example.com. Also scroll down to see list of recent internships below.
Sarah Berlinger (below) completed an internship at Museum Textile Services, a textile conservation firm located in Andover, Massachusetts. She worked on the collections of various institutions including the Tennessee State Museum and the National Heritage Museum in Lexington, MA. Her projects included the installation of a tri-centennial memory quilt at the Falmouth Public Library on Cape Cod, cleaning and repairing a collection of 1860s dresses, and working on a collection of 18 thangkas (Tibetan silk paintings). Here, Sarah works on a wedding headdress from 1929 (below).
Undergraduate student Alex Sitts (standing in middle of top row at left) worked as an Archives Technician at the National Archives (NARA) in Washington D.C., where he handled documents for researchers. He also helped to update the current documents into an electronic database to make the materials easier to access. NARA preserves and provides access to the records of the United States.
Public History Graduate students Victoria M. Edwards (below right) and Tiffany Cole (below left) worked at the Rockingham County Courthouse processing old deeds and road and bridge petitions. Many of the documents had been untouched for over a century and needed to be evaluated, organized and repaired. Tiffany and Victoria both obtained first-hand knowledge of the basics of archiving and document repair.
History Major Sean Brown (below) completed an internship at the Drug Enforcement Administration Museum in Arlington, Virginia where he worked on preserving and archiving the Museum’s 13,000+ photograph collection. He also helped to research future exhibits, develop museum display cases, and rehouse artifacts including numerous illicit drugs dating to the 1920s, opium pipes from the Vietnam War, and confiscated goods from drug traffickers.
At the Hampton Roads Naval Museum in Norfolk, Virginia, Meredyth Harrison (below) worked with the museum's education staff to give tours of the museum gallery as well as tours of the museum's largest artifact, the battleship USS Wisconsin. Meredyth presented educational programs, conducted interactive activities with museum visitors, and developed her own educational program which she presented at the Hampton Roads Naval Museum Teacher Workshop, a conference for local teachers to earn accreditation points.
Matthew Sharpe (above) interned at the National Rifle Association/The National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, Virginia. Matt contributed to the museum's inventory records, helped with museum design and exhibit fabrication, aided in packing collections, and maintained communications with 120 affiliated gun clubs. He also assisted with the design and development of the Frank Brownell Museum of the Southwest, housed at the NRA's Whittington Center in Raton, New Mexico.
At Shirley Plantation in Charles City, Virginia, Angela Walthall worked on maintaining and inventorying collections and designing new exhibits. She also worked with visiting student groups as a historical interpreter, and prepared an exhibit on one of the plantation's slaves. Graduate History student Zachary Zuro's summer internship at the New York City Police Museum required him to work closely with the artifact collections. Zach catalogued, assessed, photographed, and re-housed artifacts, and was also responsible for moving them to off-site storage.
Will Farlow and Matthew Sharpe performed a variety of tasks during their summer internships at the Army Historical Foundation, including updating the Foundation's website and coordinating their book review program. They also helped catalogue the Foundation's library books and artifacts, researched and fielded inquiries about Army history, and contributed to the Foundation's journal On Point.
Amanda Scheffer undertook archaeological laboratory and field work for the Lost Towns Archaeology Project in Ann Arundel County, Maryland. Her main project was transcribing the Quaker Meeting Minutes for the Maryland Yearly Meeting.
At the National Archives in Washington, D.C., Lauren Clark (below) worked with the Educational Programs staff in the new Learning Center, where visitors can participate in hands-on activities and further explore the documents available in the Archives. In addition to guiding visitors, Lauren completed research for a new children’s activity and drafted ideas for an interactive timeline of twentieth-century America using photographs from the collection.
Amy Cerminara worked at two locations for her internship. At Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance she helped to research and coordinate a historic downtown walking tour. At the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society she worked on the museum's temporary World War II exhibit,helped accession artifacts, helped develop a presentation on "Gone Houses" in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, and visited and helped record an early Valley house for the Society's records.When Ashlyn Paul interned at the National Park Service's Museum Resource Center in Landover, Maryland, her duties sent her all around the Washington, DC area. During her internship, she helped with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, updated the database for Natural History, and worked with artifacts from the C&O Canal. She also assisted in tours, setting up projects for visiting curators, and processing collection artifacts for storage.
Anna Klemm gained valuable historic preservation skills during an internship for the Virginia Department of Historic Resources in Richmond. She completed a Multiple Property as well as an Individual Property Nomination for listing into the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places.
For an internship at the National Museum of the American Indian, Michael Stratmoen received, researched, and catalogued artifacts and assisted with the de-installation of two gallery exhibitions.
Kate McFarland interned at Bartoli Cain & Matthews PLLC in Alexandria, where she participated in the workings of a major law firm. Kate helped prepare written documents and deposition summaries and corresponded with clients.
Several JMU students with an interest in archives have interned recently in the Special Collections Department of JMU's Carrier Library.
Emily James performed a variety of standard book conservation procedures and worked on a public service announcement and video. She also assisted with the NEH-funded project "We the People" by measuring books for custom boxes.
Margaux Zanelli learned and implemented the principles of archival arrangement, description and conservation as she processed a collection of National Register nominations completed by Professor Darryl Nash's Historic Preservation classes over the past several years.
Katherine Carr and Erica Morrison worked on the long-term project of cleaning, sorting, organizing, and developing a finding aid for a large collection of unprocessed late nineteenth-century business documents associated with the Houck Tannery in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
L. Sean Crowley researched and compiled an annotated historical timeline and bibliography of JMU's history from 1908-1959. Lisa Riley conducted oral history interviews with alumni for the JMU Centennial commemoration.
Rachel Reed (below right) interned at the archives of the George C. Marshall Foundation Library at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia. In addition to fulfilling numerous small research requests, Rachel processed and scanned photographs from the collection and created an online exhibit of never-before-published photographs taken by General George Patton toward the end of World War II. The collection included Patton's own photographs of liberated Nazi concentration camps.
For a graduate-level internship at the Marshall Foundation Library, Heather Campbell undertook the research, design, and installation of an exhibit exploring George Marshall's diplomatic efforts in China at the end of World War II.
Amanda Bowman, undergraduate history major, earned a competitive internship for the Summer of 2006 at George Washington's Mount Vernon, where she worked as a costumed interpreter at the Pioneer Farm site and the Hands-On History tent and learned to use eighteenth-century tools and techniques in the treading barn and fields. Amanda also researched and wrote a report on the slave garden that formed part of Washington's original plantation.
In the summer of 2005, Samantha Dorsey (left) also earned a competitive internship at Mount Vernon, where she worked as a costumed interpreter.
Several undergraduate history students have completed internships at the Frontier Culture Museum of Virginia in Staunton, Virginia:
Matthew Neese assisted with several research and collections-related projects that included processing artifacts for storage and inventorying objects on display. He also worked on a database of runaway slave advertisements and sale notices printed in early Shenandoah Valley newspapers.
Lorraine White researched and wrote a script for an exhibit on frontier Virginia in the French and Indian War, 1754-1763 .
Matthew Small conducted extensive research for the Museum about the impact of the economic panic of 1819 on the Shenandoah Valley’s agricultural economy.
Also at the Frontier Culture Museum of Virginia, Amanda Page drew on and extended her research and writing skills to produce the report, "An Architectural Description of the Bowman Homestead and its Restoration at the Frontier Culture Museum, Staunton, Virginia." Her report helped the museum to restore and interpret this important late eighteenth-century Germanic dwelling from Rockingham County, Virginia (shown during the process of reconstruction below left).
Spencer Narron worked with the museum's curator of historic buildings on the restoration of the Bowman House.
Julie Herczeg (second from left above), interned in the Summer of 2005 at Old Fort Jackson in Savannah, Georgia. She worked as a costumed interpreter and a special events coordinator for a "Georgia Homefront Weekend," which included demonstrations of Civil War homefront life and a Georgia women's militia organization, the Nancy Harts, shown here.
At the Army Historical Foundation in Arlington, Virginia, Michael Yarborough utilized his history research and writing skills to answer inquiries on a wide range of U.S. Army history subjects. He used source materials from the Foundation as well as the National Archives in Suitland, Maryland. He also researched historic photos and wrote an article for the Foundation’s journal On Point: The Journal of Army History.
At the Virginia Quilt Museum in Harrisonburg, Virginia, Paula Smith researched and wrote an object analysis report on a mid-nineteenth-century quilt from the museum’s collection, conducted tours for museum visitors, and helped with installing and maintaining exhibits.
Kimber Van Sant also interned at the museum. Her internship involved compiling a children's library on quilts and quilting and installing an exhibit featuring the entire permanent collection of the museum.
Several JMU students have completed internships at Lot's Wife Publishing, a local publishing firm in Staunton, Virginia:
Elyse Poinsett and Sharon Tewksbury-Bloom used their research, writing and photography skills to assist in compiling, editing, and illustrating a tour book of roadside historic markers in Augusta County, Staunton and Waynesboro, Virginia.
Kimberly McCray utilized the techniques she learned in her public history courses, the records of the Staunton/Augusta County Courthouse, and the resources of the Augusta County Historical Society to interpret the objects and documents contained in a trunk owned by an early 20th-century African-American woman from Augusta County.
Greg Kellerman researched the history of the Second Presbyterian Church in Staunton, Virginia, from its inception in 1875 to 1945. Much of his research involved reading Staunton newspapers as well as publications of the Lexington Presbytery.
Susan Dawson transcribed a set of minute books kept by two Shenandoah Valley Ladies' Aid Societies during the Civil War and researched the societies and their work. Her findings will be published in a handbook detailing their activities during the period.
Jessica Charles transcribed an 1850s cookbook, tested a variety of the recipes, and is also publishing her findings in an updated version of the cookbook.
At the Smithsonian Institution Women’s Council in Washington, DC, Kristen Lowe completed an internship in conjunction with the Political Science Department’s Washington International Semester Program. She researched and developed information and outreach materials on women’s history globally, women in film, and relevant DC-area events in observance of Women’s History Month. She wrote for, and helped lay out and produce, the Council’s quarterly newsletter. She organized brown bag lunch lecture events for Smithsonian employees and helped organize and document the national Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day at the Smithsonian. She also helped research and produce historic timelines of Latin American culture, economics, and politics for the International Relations unit of the Community Constituent Services department of the Smithsonian.
At the Valentine Museum in Richmond, Elaine Hagey interned with the Valentine’s Development and Public Relations department where she learned about this department's essential role in the success of the institution. She learned to use the Raiser’s Edge software program to track museum donors and helped maintain positive relationships between the Museum and the Richmond community. She also helped coordinate the "Richmond History Makers" event which reached out to the community to find the "unsung heroes" of the city’s history and bring new constituents into the museum.
Lisa Riley worked at the Valentine as a public program and education intern. Lisa helped to write a teacher resource manual for public school students. She also developed activities and taught children's programs for the museum
At the Valentine Museum, student interns Lisa Riley (right) and Anna Maternick (left) worked to set up an exhibit of Indian artifacts in preparation for a teacher recertification program.
Uyen Ta, undergraduate History major and Asian studies minor, interned with the United States Department of State’s Foreign Service Institute in Arlington, Virginia, where she used her history skills to research and write two papers—one on China’s relations with Southeast Asian nations generally, and the other on China’s relations with Vietnam specifically since 1975. Uyen’s papers will serve as background readings for Area Studies courses taught at the Foreign Service Institute. Uyen also prepared a comprehensive PowerPoint presentation on Vietnam for ongoing use in the training courses for American diplomats and other professionals.
Jeff Brundage interned with the Museum Management section of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, DC, where he was able to combine his history skills with his interest in learning to manage a large organization.
Morgan Pierce interned at the Glen Burnie House of the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley where he gained hands-on experience in collections management, handling and cataloging museum artifacts, and stabilizing historic objects.
Jennifer Miller, an undergraduate SMAD major with an interest in history, interned with the South Atlantic Humanities Center at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities in Charlottesville, Virginia. Jennifer combined her history and computer skills to contribute design and content to the Center’s website.
At the Historic Lexington Foundation, Sarah Wilson completed a graduate internship that involved surveying a historic district of about 180 buildings. Sarah wrote architectural descriptions, photographed the district, and researched original ownership and building information.
Andrew Robarge interned at the CIA Museum which is housed within the headquarters of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency in Washington, DC, and is thus not open to the public.
For an "Oral History of School Desegregation in Western Virginia" internship supported by Washington and Lee University and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, history graduate student Sarah Wilson scheduled and conducted oral history interviews with people who experienced school desegregation, either as students, teachers, parents, or administrators, in four western Virginia counties. She also researched and transcribed school board minutes and superintendent records.
At Belle Grove Plantation, history graduate student Peggy Dillard produced a guide for the Furnishings and Collection Committee to help refurnish the interior of the mansion to match as closely as possible the Hite family's early 19th-century period of occupancy.
As part of a summer internship at Belle Grove Plantation (left), graduate student Peggy Dillard researched eighteenth- and nineteenth-century probate inventories and other documents and compared them with existing furnishings to help the museum determine how the rooms were originally furnished.
Erin Jones interned with the Frontier Culture Museum of Virginia where she helped create a furnishing plan for the museum’s upcoming Early Settlement Exhibit. She also helped to develop an exhibit on the French and Indian War.
At Historic Staunton Foundation in Staunton, Virginia, Phoebe Harding researched and created a walking tour brochure of historic buildings for Staunton's historic district.
Undergraduate history major Dalesha Criner and history graduate student Sarah Holland assisted in the Tax Credit Project and the Façade Improvement Project. Both students made use of research skills as well as architectural documentation and preservation skills to help Staunton residents meet the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation. They also helped edit The Queen City Quarterly, a newsletter sent to foundation members.
History M.A. student Elizabeth Warner described and documented local historic buildings to help eligible property owners gain tax credit incentives for rehabilitation.
Ellen Donnelly (left) with oral history interviews done on the Mall during the WWII Memorial dedication ceremony
At the Library of Congress American Folklife Center, Ellen Donnelly worked on the Veteran’s History Project which is collecting, archiving, and preserving the stories and experiences of American veterans from WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf Wars.
Georgia Hancock gained a post-graduation internship with Morgan, Angel and Associates, LLC, in Washington, DC, where she could apply her interest in Native American history, environmental issues, and law prior to applying to law school.
Elizabeth Roach interned with the Surry County, Virginia, Historical Society and Museums, Inc. To read Beth’s description of her experience, go to the Society’s Newsletter and scroll down near the bottom for “A Summer’s Work” by Beth Roach.
In Carrier Library's Special Collections department, Andrea Hillebrenner began processing the records of the Houck Tannery of Harrisonburg. The collection documents the daily purchases and sales of the tannery, which was one of the largest in the Shenandoah Valley. Founded in 1871 as the Harrisonburg Steam Tannery, its name was changed to the Houck Tannery when it was purchased in 1878 by J.P. Houck. The records include an account ledger, receipts, payment notes, bark tonnage calculations, check stubs, and railroad freight forms.
Andrea Hillebrenner (right) processed the daily records of the Houck Tannery of Harrisonburg as part of a summer internship.
At the Fredericksburg-Spotsylvania National Military Park, history M.A. student Shaun Mooney(below) helped document and analyze the late nineteenth-century Richardson House at Willis Hill. Shaun's architectural analysis formed part of a report to the National Park Service on the historical significance and recommended future use of the structure.
At James Madison University, four undergraduate students began a large project to nominate the JMU Historic Campus to the National Register of Historic Places. Marci Tingle, Kim Miles, Abbie Salyers, and Pete Swerdzewski produced building descriptions, assembled photographs, conducted architectural research, and began the paperwork required for the nomination.
Melissa Cole transcribed post-Civil War era requests of Shenandoah Valley residents for compensation due to war losses resulting from their loyalty to the Union for the Southern Claims Commission. She also conducted research at the National Archives on these claims, the families involved, and any compensation that was awarded.
At Red Hill, the Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation, graduate student Tim Hack transcribed some of Patrick Henry's account and ledger books documenting his plantation and business activities.
At the New Market Battlefield Military Museum, Jeffrey Hampson, history graduate student, developed an interactive educational program on the Civil War for elementary and middle school students.
At Handley Regional Library, Archives Room, Courtney O'Donnell developed manuscript collection inventories, helped in the accession of new collections, and provided research assistance to patrons in person, electronically, and by mail.
At the Marine Corps Historical Center, Matthew Fitzgerald served as a research assistant in the Reference Section, where he conducted primary source research on particular Marine Corps units and assisted researchers at the Center.
At Montpelier, James Madison's home in Orange, Virginia, M.A. student Stacey Schneider developed a series of interpretive plans for the Gilmore Cabin, the home of an emancipated African-American who had been a slave belonging to James Madison.
Colin Barber and Aaron Coe worked with the collections curator to locate furniture and other artifacts that the Madison family had used at Montpelier.
John Peter Robinson researched the social life of James and Dolley Madison.
Dave Sessa began research on slavery and the slave culture at Montpelier.
At Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest, Thomas Jefferson's "other" home in Forest, Virginia, Carson Overstreet developed educational outreach programs and participated in an historic restoration project.
At Making History, a historical consulting firm in Omaha, Nebraska, history graduate student Elizabeth Warner created exhibits from start to finish--from preliminary budget proposals, research, and design to construction and final installation.
At the Frontier Culture Museum of Virginia, history graduate student Jamie Ferguson undertook the documentary research needed to produce a furnishing plan for the Museum's 1850s Farm House.
At the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace Museum in Staunton, Virginia, Kara Ryan helped develop a high school outreach program, researched specific areas for weekend focus tours, and worked with the curator in the collections department to prepare an exhibit on leisure activities in the Victorian era.
As part of an oral history internship through Carrier Library's Special Collections, Wondwossen Getachew interviewed members of Harrisonburg's African-American community to document the legacy of nationally renowned educator Lucy Simms. Past oral history internships at Carrier Library's Special Collections have ranged from an examination of Merck Pharmaceuticals' history and operation to an assessment of the impact of the Mall on traditional activities in Harrisonburg's Court Square.
JMU history students have also completed internships at the following locations:
Ongoing Internship Opportunities
Americans for Tax Reform in Washington DC offers a number of internships for applicants with strong interests in tax reform and economic policy.
Belle Grove Plantation (shown at right) located outside Winchester, Virginia, occasionally offers internship opportunities for interested students.
U.S. Capitol Historical Society is continuing its work to produce biographical vignettes of each member of Congress and put this information into a website.
The Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History offers a number of internship opportunities.
Historic Staunton Foundation works with commercial property owners in developing color schemes and providing design guidance and rehabilitation information for historic buildings. This is a wonderful internship opportunity for a history, preservation, or art student. In addition, Historic Staunton Foundation provides tax credit documentation. Such work involves describing architecture and rehabilitation procedures, applying the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the treatment of historic properties, working with computer forms, and photography. Historic Staunton Foundation also does research in the vernacular housing traditions of the Valley Germans and Scots-Irish.
The Manassas Museum System in Manassas, Virginia provides an opportunity to gain valuable museum experience and make a significant contribution to the museum. Interns can work in a variety of fields: museum education to learn about the museum's areas of public relations and outreach and to help in the development of new program materials; collections management to work on accessions and collections issues and to help with collection storage and data update from previous archaeological digs; and historical research to conduct research on collection objects and to prepare interpretation for upcoming exhibitions. Interns may select from a variety of museums, including The Manassas Museum, The Manassas Industrial School, The Manassas Railroad Depot, and The Mayfield Civil War Fortification.
At the Fairfax County Park Authority in Virginia, interns will work alongside professionals performing a variety of collections management duties, such as researching, cataloging and accessioning historic artifacts, conducting inventory and environmental monitoring, and assisting in exhibit development.
Governing: The Magazine of States and Localities in Washington, DC. Governing is a Congressional Quarterly publication with 86,000 subscribers devoted to nationwide coverage of issues, trends and people in state and local government. Interns will work as editorial assistants and will report and write 300- to 1,600-word articles, assist in fact-checking and research projects, compile charts and graphs, and proofread and review press releases and online newspapers for potential story ideas.
The National Park Service in Washington, DC offers internships through its Internships in the Social Science Program. These are for graduate students interested in overseeing projects related to social science research (such as social aspects of the ecosystem management, gateway community issues, trends in tourism and recreation). Interns may also conduct social science needs assessments for national parks and National Park Service programs.
For more information on history internships, contact Dr. Kevin Borg at firstname.lastname@example.org