In her spring 2023 internship at Elwyn Inc., Mackenzie Moore archived artifacts, records, and documents collected over the course of Elwyn’s 170-year history. Elwyn’s extensive archives are regarded as an essential resource for understanding disability history in the United States. In addition to archiving artifacts for Elwyn’s finding aid, she also was responsible for investigating and categorizing hundreds of boxes containing patient records, pamphlets, and other artifacts from The Vineland Training School, and had to lead a team of movers to make sure these boxes were properly organized onto Elwyn’s archive shelves. This internship provided MacKenzie with a unique opportunity to work with historically significant artifacts dating back to the 1850s, while also allowing her to learn more about the history of disabilities. Through her internship she gained valuable skills and experience, including learning how to create and use historical finding aids, how to organize artifacts for relocation, and how to effectively lead a team of people through the process of artifact relocation.
MacKenzie Moore, Elwyn, Inc., Spring 2023
My internship at the Domestic Violence Center of Chester County in 2019-20 was focused on its counseling and legal department. I was able to assist counselors with day to day needs of survivors of domestic violence and accompany lawyers to court for hearings concerning domestic violence cases. When I went to court, I would often provide emotional support to survivors and answer their questions about the court process. Gaining experience in both departments allowed me to more fully appreciate the different aspects that create a well-rounded nonprofit system and educated me on a career in domestic violence law.
Kailyn Siena, Domestic Violence Center of Chester County
In summer 2018, I conducted archival research for Remember the 27 Crusaders, a community-oriented video documentary on the 27 Father Judge High School graduates who fought and died in Vietnam. I researched and located the burial sites of each of the men; helped retrieve the most compelling story lines and details of the soldiers’ lives from oral history interviews with their parents, family, and friends; and looked through back issues of the Catholic Standard and Times, the official Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia newspaper, for articles about the Crusaders and the Vietnam War. I am thrilled to have worked on a documentary that has enabled families and friends to feel a sense of closure and pride for the fallen Crusaders, who have now gotten the attention that they deserved.
William Jones, The Radnor 21 Studio
In summer 2019 I interned at Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum in Lancaster, PA as a historic building interpreter. The staff trained me in two buildings there, the Landis Brothers’ House and the Country Store. While in period dress, I gave tours to visitors from around the world and answered any questions about the collections on display in the buildings. Through my research for the internship, I learned much about medicine in the early 1900s and the history of the post office. My research on old country stores helped the museum reinterpret and better understand the building as a whole. I continue to volunteer at Landis Valley and will soon start training on other buildings. The internship helped me discover my passion for public history and I strongly recommend an internship for anyone interested.
Thomas Stocker, Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum
In summer 2019 I interned in the Moore Archives at Historic Yellow Springs (HYS) with archivist Sandy Momyer. Focusing on the village's Civil War Soldiers Orphans' School, I compiled and wrote brief summaries of the Superintendent Annual Reports and outlined ideas for a video documentary on HYS. The best part of the internship was recording interviews with Sandy about her time at HYS, the Orphans School, and other parts of the village’s history. Overall, I had an excellent time applying that skills I have learned as a history major and gaining some professional experience.
Alexis Zimmerman, Historic Yellow Springs
In 2011, Danielle Lehr interned at Pennsbury Manor William Penn's country home, where she worked in the kitchen garden, led tours, and wrote blog posts. Several years later she returned to Pennsbury, now as the Education Coordinator.
Danielle Lehr, Pennsbury Manor
Kaitlyn Sheeran knew she did a great job as an intern at the Lehigh County Historical Society when the director offered her a job! As an intern, she wore many hats, conducting research, helping with marketing, processing collections, and leading public programs.
Kaitlyn Sheeran, Lehigh County Historical Society
Internships allow students to develop new skills, as Henry Carlson discovered in his position leading tours in costume at Ephrata Cloister.
Henry Carlson, Ephrata Cloister
Amanda Tuttle and Kelly McGuire interned at the History of Oppression Project at Elwyn, Inc., transforming its corporate archives into a professional research collection.
Amanda Tuttle & Kelly McGuire, History of Oppression Project at Elwyn, Inc.
In 2013, Taryn Carey spent her summer working at the Anthracite Heritage Museum, which celebrates and preserves Pennsylvania's coal mining heritage.
Taryn Carey, Anthracite Heritage Museum
In Summer 2014, Kristen Waltz honed her skills as a History major with Secondary Education certificate by working on educational programs at Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation.
Kristen Waltz, Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation
Interning in summer 2015 at Pottsgrove Manor, a Montgomery County Georgian mansion built in 1752, Jeremy Tonnesson shadowed curator Amy Reis in her day- to-day work to learn the ins and out of working at a historic site. He also helped work on Pottsgrove's collections inventory and interpreted the site through the development of a tea party exhibit. Read Jeremy's full internship reflection here.
Jeremy Tonnessen, Pottsgrove Manor
During her internship at the National Steel and Iron Heritage Museum in Coatesville in summer 2015, Caitlin O'Donnell worked primarily in the archives section and briefly helped do research for an upcoming exhibition. She archived a variety of documents and objects, including memos, drinking glasses, clothing, and large machinery equipped for a steel mill. She reflected that working with a collection of different archival items taught her how to properly archive a wide assortment of objects and was valuable in teaching her the basics in archiving at a museum.
Caitlin O'Donnell, National Iron and Steel Heritage Museum
In Summer 2015, Mike Lewis returned to his hometown of Bethlehem, PA, to intern at the Moravian Archives, where in addition to helping with reference requests, he learned to transcribe handwritten Old German documents. He used a digital platform, Juxtaeditions, to create these annotated transcriptions about the communal life of the Moravians in the 1740s. He also cataloged an early 20th century archival collection, creating a finding aid. Read about his full experience.
Michael Lewis, Moravian Archives
In Fall 2015, Andrew Ross interned at the Mill at Anselma, in Chester Springs, Pennsylvania, where in addition to helping open the mill in the morning, Ross led tours through the historic site. He also conducted research on the Anselma Post Office, from the time it opened in 1872 to the time it closed in 1958. Read his full internship report here .
Andrew Ross, The Mill at Anselma
In Summer 2015, History graduate student Ben Spohn interned at Chester County Historical Society in West Chester, where he developed skills in a number of areas. He created high-resolution scans of historic Bibles, cataloging records of each. He also worked in collections and assisted in developing an audio feature for CCHS's The Sixties! exhibit. His experience helped him land his first public history gig post-graduation, working on an audio project at Hagley Museum and Library.
Ben Spohn, Chester County Historical Society
Richard Fontanet brought his enthusiasm, technical skills, and attention to detail to the Independence Seaport Museum, where he interned in Spring 2016. He produced a website using the open source platform Omeka to combine his research with the museum's Labor on the Delaware collection, illustrating the life and changing times of the longshoremen culture.
Richard Fontanet, Independence Seaport Museum
A majority of the work I have done at my summer 2016 internship at Trappe Historical Society was helping to compile photos for the Trappe 300th Anniversary book. This project had me scanning and digitizing photos, documents, and the like for the author to use. I have also taken part in the project of digitizing the original prints of the now defunct local newspaper, Providence Independent Newspaper, starting with 1891. Furthermore, I created digital imagery for the anniversary book and for a youth oriented marketing campaign that the Historical Society is trying to capitalize on the recent Pokemon Go trend.
Trappe Historical Society
In summer 2016, Chris Mallee interned at Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation in the heart of Ridley Creek State Park. In his time there, he learned the history of the plantation while displaying his own knowledge and skills, in addition to helping run summer camps and school visits. Chris designed a pre-visit and a post-visit program for the plantation in hope to draw more students from high schools.
Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation
History graduate student Pete Connolly served as project manager for the design and manufacture of a six-panel display commemorating the history of Speaking for Ourselves, a pioneering group in the self-advocacy movement for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Funding for the project came from a grant received by the Pennsylvania History Coalition Honoring People with Disability. Students from the West Chester University art and design department created the graphic details for the panels under the guidance of Professor David Jones. Displayed at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia on June 17, 2017 in conjunction with a symposium on the history of Speaking for Ourselves, the six-panels will continue on a five-city tour of Pennsylvania.
Speaking for Ourselves
With a vague knowledge of my career path and heightened panic about how to get there, I burst into Dr. Hardy's office begging for his help to find an internship. He sat me down and our conversation allowed me to focus and hone in on exactly what I was looking for. With that, I was off to my first internship, as an archivist with the Western Chester County Chamber of Commerce. Fortunately for me, they needed someone immediately, so even with my lack of experience I was able to land it. Unfortunately for me, there was no one there who knew how to guide me and the collection I began to process was completely disorganized, and spanned 100 years. From this job, I learned a lot about over-processing, and the procedures that are necessary to process a collection and prepare a finding aid. I started the Chamber internship in November, and then continued it for another year and a half, working with them on promotional events and writing for their publications in addition to being their sole archivist.
Landing the Chamber internship gave me a huge boost of confidence. So, I kept moving forward. That January, I started another internship as well at West Chester's Special Collections in the library. Having the director, Tara Wink, provided me with concrete information about archives and preservation techniques. While I was processing and organizing at the chamber, I would go to Tara with questions and her guidance was essential for my success in both internships. With the Special Collections internship, I processed a collection of letters from World War II veterans from WCU, and created some blog posts and an exhibit using these primary source materials.
With these under my belt, along with some published works and presentations thanks to certain professors and classes at WCU, I had the experience I needed to apply to internships on my own. The summer after my Junior year, I landed a paid internship at Hagley Museum and Library, processing a collection in the Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department. I learned more ways to process and how to use more tools within the field of library science. Throughout all of these internships I made contacts and progressed in my career before even having a Bachelor's. My resume has been built up by my experience from undergrad, and I couldn't have done any of it without the Internship program in WCU's History Department.
Western Chester County Chamber of Commerce
Annmarie Geist expanded her skillset in libraries through an internship assisting West Chester University Special Collections librarian Tara Wink. Annmarie processed the papers of WCU's first African American professor, Ruby Jones, digitized and created metadata for collections, and curated an exhibit on the history of the Olympics. Following her graduate in December 2016, Annmarie landed a job at the University of Pennsylvania's law library. She is also beginning a masters degree from Drexel University in Library and Information Science.
West Chester University Special Collections
At Moonstone Arts Center of Philadelphia I was tasked with researching US labor history for a series of lectures that Moonstone founder Larry Robin will present to the 1199C Medical Workers Union of Philadelphia. In addition to locating and reading sources, I spent time in Temple University's Urban Archives looking at newspaper clippings on labor history and other primary sources. I also reached out to professors of labor history and others involved with Philadelphia unions for interviews and assistance, including Henry Nicholas, president of the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees. My final contribution to Moonstone's labor talks were PowerPoints, outlines, and extensive source notes that Mr. Robin will use for lectures he will give once a month for about a year.
Moonstone Arts Center Hidden History Project
For my internship I had the unique experience of being able to use my position with Valley Forge National Historical Park as a tour guide both on their trolley and for private touring. The experience was amazing as I got to go through the process of researching and developing a tour program to practicing my interpreting skills everyday. The time I spent with Valley Forge made me a better historian and interpreter and aided in my obtaining a job with the National Park Service as a park ranger at the Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site in Berks County.
Valley Forge National Historical Park
Adelaide Okonski worked to further expand the digital footprint made by Cliveden of the National Trust, during the summer of 2017. Her projects included polishing 18th century silver, creating an iMDB page for the dramatic event, "Liberty to Go to See," and creating a map of Germantown showing the correlation between street names and the Revolutionary War.
Clivedon of the National Trust
My internship was at the Colonial Plantation in Ridley State Park this summer. While there I learned what it might be like working within the realms of public history. I learned how to give a proper house tour to children and adults of the home that is on site. Besides house tours, the planation does farm tours, firearm demonstration, candle making and much more.
My project for the Plantation was to focus on the slaves that lived there during the 1700s. While not much was found after they were freed I did manage to find an original manumission from Joseph Pratt II which granted the freedom of his slave Susanna Cuff. When I reached an end to what I could find of the slaves on the Pratt farm, I moved towards the general life of a slave on a planation within the South-Eastern region of Pennsylvania. While working within the house tours, when I felt it was appropriate, I would incorporate slavery and indentured servitude that was present in the colonial period on the farm.
This internship was a great opportunity to meet interesting people and form friends and references working within public history. It also gave me a glimpse of what a living museum must do to operate successfully and to remain a great tool for hands-on learning for children and adults.
In the Summer of 2017, Seth Wheeler interned at the Chester County Historical Society in West Chester, PA. From there, he worked in its special library and developed useful skills in a few areas. He learned how special libraries functioned, process old manuscripts and organize archival collections, create finding aids and upload them onto the CCHS website, and learned about archival theory and practice. Along with his experiences in the archives, he answered reference questions and helped researchers find information on their topic. Additionally, he created a blog to document his experiences and learned a great deal about formulating and maintaining websites.
Read an in-depth analysis of his internship in Seth's Blog.
Chester County Historical Society
In Summer 2018 in my internship at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, I worked on research and curation of a document display exhibit about genealogical research in the Pennsylvania area. Through this internship, I gained valuable experience in research libraries and work with manuscript collections. I also learned about the operation of a professional historical society, the challenges of creating public history exhibits, and the concerns of preservation. This internship allowed me to see historical research in action.
Historical Society of Pennsylvania
In Summer 2018 I worked as a collections intern at the Peter Wentz Farmstead, a Georgian-style stone house built in 1758. Here, I assisted curator Sarah Biehl update collections inventories and helped the site's educator with several summer camps. Through this internship I also obtained a part-time job as the museum assistant at Historic Hope Lodge, where I will be giving tours, assisting with public programs, and working on exhibits.
Peter Wentz Farmstead
During my Spring 2018 internship at Valley Forge, I had a variety of roles and responsibilities. In addition to photographing artifacts in the Archive's extensive collections, I handled objects from muskets and rifles, to candlesticks and redware. I also helped manage their vault tours and contributed a segment on the subject of my exhibit, spontoons and fusils in the American Revolution. Overall my experience as an intern at Valley Forge was wonderful! The staff helped me with whatever I was working on and I learned about the work of a curator, should fate take me in that direction one day. I am going to miss coming into historic Valley Forge and saying hello to the mounted George Washington dummy on my way out.
Valley Forge National Park
Interning at the Independence Seaport Museum in summer 2018, Deana-Lee Forbes conducted archival research, helped lead tours of the submarine Becuna and cruiser Olympia, assisted with the Sail to Philly event and K-8 educational programs, and learned about learned about museum curatorship and the history of the Delaware River.
Independence Seaport Museum, Summer 2018
You know you love history, but how can you apply that passion to a job? The best way to contemplate your future career is with hands-on experience through a service-learning internship for credit, which you can list on your resume and college transcript. Interns have their experiences life changing, as they develop new goals and career ambitions while building their professional network.
The History Department offers undergraduate and graduate opportunities for internships with a broad range of placements and projects, including museums, archives, historical societies, and public agencies. Our interns give tours, develop curricula, manage collections, build websites, transcribe archival materials, and much more! Interested students with a minimum 2.75 GPA who can offer 15 or more eight-hour days, typically during summer sessions, should contact Professor Janneken Smucker email@example.com or Department Chair Robert Kodosky firstname.lastname@example.org regarding the application process and registration for AMS 415, HIS 450, or HIS 600.
- An intern may earn 3 credits during a semester or summer or winter session.
- 3-credit internship requires a student to perform assigned responsibilities at the cooperating internship site for no less than 133 hours.
- Interns must be History majors with at least 80 earned credits and a minimum 2.75 grade point overall and in history. (The chair may make exceptions in special cases.)
- Interested students should contact Professor Janneken Smucker email@example.com or Department Chair Robert Kodosky firstname.lastname@example.org one semester prior to the semester in which they wish to intern.
- Students must provide the internship coordinator a sample of their best historical writing and a resume for submission to prospective cooperating internship institutions.
- The coordinator will review these materials and inform students if they qualify for an internship. Students denied an internship will receive reasons for the denial from the internship coordinator and suggestions for strengthening a future application.
- The internship coordinator and student will work together to decide where to seek a placement, with either the student or coordinator making the initial contact.
- Interns must obtain FBI and Child Abuse Clearances before the internship can begin. In paid internships students do not need clearances.
The Department of History offers internship stipends of between $800 and $1,000 for a limited number of students, and $500 to students completing internships whose work the Department of History has deemed meritorious. Both are funded by the Dr. Robert E. Drayer Memorial Scholarship Fund.
Working with a faculty internship supervisor agreed upon by the student and department internship coordinator, the student, faculty supervisor, and site supervisor will articulate internship responsibilities and activities. Requirement include:
- a daily log, detailing the nature of the activities during the internship. The internship coordinator will use this log, submitted on a schedule, to determine the intern's performance and to suggest changes to the internship assignments and responsibilities.
- Consistent contact with the faculty internship supervisor, including regarding any significant changes to their activities or emerging problems.
- On-site visit by the faculty supervisor
The student's grade will be based on:
- the on-site supervisor's mid-internship and final evaluation,
- the student's internship report, describing and evaluating the nature of the internship experience,
- a final project, based on the intern's work at the affiliated site, agreed upon by the faculty supervisor and the student once the internship is underway.
- the internship coordinator's on-site visit, and
- supporting documentation, which can include materials the intern has worked on for the host institution, promotional materials for exhibits or projects to which the intern contributed, and other evidence of accomplishments.
Since 2015 the WCU Department of History has placed on average 14 students a year in internships, and created partnerships with the Hagley Museum and Library, Independence Seaport Museum, Valley Forge National Historic Park, and other regional institutions. Interns have created finding aids for archives, led tours, conducted historical research for physical and virtual museum exhibits, and produced reports based on their own archival research. Students interested in an internship should contact Dr. Hardy.
Recent internship placements include the following:
- Bernard Bronsberg, Community Action Agency of Delaware County, 2016.
- Alexandra Lacey, Valley Forge National Historical Park, 2016.
- Kara Fritz, Chester County Historical Society, 2016.
- David Jones, Moravian Historical Society, 2016.
- Chris Mallee, Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation, 2016.
- Michael Misciagna, Penn Museum of Archeology, 2016.
- Kelsee Nodan (graduate), Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2016.
- Chad Renner, Chads Ford Historical Society, 2016.
- Richard Fontanet, Independence Seaport Museum, 2016.
- Andrea Kuhn, (graduate) Elwyn Inc., 2016.
- John Smith III, Valley Forge National Historical Park, 2016.
- Derek Duquette, Pennhurst Memorial Coalition Archives, 2016.
- Melanie Pezdirtz, Special Collections, Harvey Green Library, 2016.
- Suzanne Irvin (graduate), American Helicopter Museum and Education Center, 2016.
- Antonio Aloia, Trappe Historical Society, 2017
- Melanie Grear, Western Chester County Chamber of Commerce, 2017
- Annmarie Geist, West Chester University Special Collections, 2017
- Marissa Kalinowsky, Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation, 2017
- Seth Wheeler, Chester County Historical Society, 2017
- Dillon Baker, Moonstone Arts Center's Hidden History Project, 2017
- Adelaide Okonski, Cliveden of the National Trust, 2017
- Allison Koenig, Valley Forge National Historical Park, 2017.
- Peter Connelly, (graduate) Speaking for Ourselves, 2017.
- Ellen Clark, Independence Seaport Museum, 2018.
- Chris Curll, Chester County Historical Society, 2018.
- Deana Lee Forbes, Independence Seaport Museum, 2018
- Leonard Lederman, (graduate), Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 2018
- Bailey Lozanoff, Susquehanna Art Museum, 2018.
- Kelsey Killion, Chester County Historical Society, 2018.
- Adelaide Okonski, Historic Sugartown, 2018.
- Peter McElroy, American Helicopter Museum, 2018.
- Michael Weiss, Hagley Museum and Library, 2018.
- Nicole Strunk, Oral History Review, 2018-2019
- Carly Buongervino, Chester County Historical Society, 2019.
- Kaylin Siena, Domestic Violence Center of Chester County, 2019.
- Margaret Hartnett, Independence Seaport Museum, 2019.
- Thomas Stocker (graduate), The 1794 Brinton House, 2019, and Landis Valley Farm Museum, 2019.
- Dimitri Parente, Iron and Steel Heritage Museum, 2019.
- Grace Citro and Celine Butler, Elwyn Inc., 2019.
- Alexis Zimmerman, Historic Yellow Springs, 2019.
- Nicholas Heydeman, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, 2019.
- Marie DiChiara, Chester County Historical Society, 2019.
- Tyler Haney, Peter Wentz House, 2019, and Special Collections, Harvey Green Library, 2020
- Aiden Max (graduate), Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2020.
- Kyle Sakamoto, Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center, 2020.
Other placements from recent years have included:
- Academy of Natural Sciences
- Anthracite Heritage Museum
- Brandywine River Museum
- Colonial Williamsburg
- Delaware Children's Museum
- Eastern State Penitentiary
- Eckley Miner's Village
- Ephrata Cloister
- Greater Philadelphia Film Office
- Historic Fort Mifflin
- Lancaster Historical Society
- Lehigh County Historical Society
- Lightfoot Mill at Anselma
- Mid-Atlantic Air Museum
- Moravian Archives
- National Constitution Center
- Newlin Mill
- Pearl Buck Foundation
- Pennsylvania State Archives
- Philadelphia History Museum
- Pottsgrove Manor
- Salem County Historical Society
- Save Ellis Island Foundation
- Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History
- Soldiers and Scholars Oral History Project