HIST 397 Internship in History (3-15 s.h.)
"Bottom line is that finding work can be a real challenge. This is where internships come in." (Peter M. Donaghy, SUNY Oneonta History intern)
HIST 397 Internship in History provides students with hands-on experience in the direct application of historical techniques including, but not limited to, the accession, classification and description of documents, research of subjects, and exhibition of artifacts. Students will be placed in field agencies on the basis of their interests and approval of personnel. Open to Jr. and Sr. history majors who have completed 12 s.h. in upper-level history courses and have passed the CWE. Approval of the advisor and department is also required
Please contact the departmental internship co-ordinator, Dr. Thomas D. Beal, to learn more about HIST 397 Internship in History.
NEW: Internship opportunities at the Fenimore Art Museum and the Farmers' Museum at Cooperstown, NY
The Fenimore Art Museum and the Farmers' Museum seek dynamic interns to work with
program development and delivery in the Education Department. Internships are available to undergraduate and graduate students and recent college graduates throughout the academic year (spring and fall), and during the summer (May-August). We primarily offer part-time volunteer positions and can work with students to receive college or service credit.
We place interns in several areas within education and will do our best to match interns with their areas of interest and career goals. Our primary needs include working with families and children for our summer Week-Long Experiences, education events, and special programming. Other projects may include event coordination, program delivery, program research and development, and web-
based and social media projects.
• Ability to research and develop engaging museum programs
• Programmatic experience engaging public audiences
• Event/program planning skills
• Knowledge of internal museum operations
• Increased communication and workplace skills
Interested students should send a cover letter and resume to:
Fenimore Art Museum: firstname.lastname@example.org
Farmers' Museum: email@example.com
These materials are due on the following dates:
Fall Internships: July 15th
Spring Internships: November 15th
Summer Internships: March 15th
If you any questions or concerns, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org (Fenimore Art Museum) or email@example.com (Farmers' Museum)
Student Intern Testimonials
Peter M. Donaghy (Thomas Paine National Historical Association Collection, Iona College)
"So what did I do at my internship at Iona College and the Thomas Paine National Historical Association? My first large-scale project was TPNHA’s next exhibit on the adventure of Tom Paine’s bones. (The association actually holds on to the old only confirmed remains of Paine, a piece of his brain and some hair.) I edited and proofed texts to go along with our visuals, and did lot of independent research for the exhibition and other projects. The TPNHA was also looking to market the organization a bit better. Following my suggestion, they took to creating an Ipad/Ipod app. It was my job to come up with all the visuals to be used (mainly high resolution period maps to serve as a navigation screen – users could then click on significant locations that Paine traveled to, which brought them to historical snippets and documents to read). In terms of helping me navigate the treacherous course better known as one’s career path, this internship has been very useful. I was able to fuse my historical prowess with a design element. This process helped me fine tune my goals of going into education – being able to take difficult, sometimes dense pieces of information and organize them in a way as to either entertain an expert or fill in an outsider. Furthermore, I was treated as a peer, and found that I could apply my classroom skills to the workplace – my opinion definitely did matter. All in all, it was a great experience that gave me insight to a possible career path and taught me how to be a professional."
Connie Randall (Schuyler County Historical Society)
"Internships, no matter how small the institution, are not only a way to get “real-world” experience, but also to see if you are on the right path or if your path appears to be moving in a new direction. Working at the Native American artifact collection at my local historical society gave me an introduction into museum archaeology. My primary tasks at the Schuyler County Historical Society were to identify, catalogue and photograph artifacts and to redesign the main portions of the exhibit space. The exhibition included material from the site where SUNY Oneonta and Hartwick College hold the archaeological field school – Pine Lake in Davenport. The used artifacts include abraders, bone tools, Lamoka Points, a stone drill, and adzes (axe type). This internship has shown me how working with an archaeological collection within a history context can be merged outside of academia. In my archaeology career I am going to do my best to pull in historical sources where they are available in order to gain a better understanding. This internship has also given me some opportunities: An article that I wrote about the importance of the Lamoka site for Schuyler County history will be published in the historical society journal. Working with the community and creating the displays was a wonderful experience for me that solidified the idea that archaeology needs to be done for the layperson as well."
Kurt Nicolaisen (Hudson Maritime Museum)
"Internships are a great way to get involved in the particular field one is interested in. When compared to taking courses for a degree, my internship at the Hudson River Maritime Museum offered a glimpse of what one would do in that career with a more hands-on approach. My first two semesters at SUNY Oneonta really opened my eyes to how much work was truly needed to gain an MA in museum studies and work in a museum. I took this realization very seriously and worked hard for the past two semesters. I also attended a workshop for history careers and master programs and visited the museum studies program in Cooperstown. Both stressed the importance of connections and experience. Internships are an excellent way to gain these. My work at the Hudson River Maritime Museum during this summer was varied – a major project was research on the Rondout lighthouse. The hard work put into searching and going through records gave me a strong feeling of pride. My report was presented and the education director said my research would be used to recreate a new exhibit at the Rondout Lighthouse. This internship at the Hudson River Maritime Museum greatly helped me in my future career path. I enjoyed every moment and learned what I would do in a museum and the different options within the field of museum work. The internship also showed me how museums operate and function. For my future career in museums I will know what will be expected of me. The many things I learned and had the opportunity to work with at the Hudson River Maritime Museum will stay with me for the rest of my life."
John Darrin (Cradle of Aviation Museum, Long Island)
"Starting my internship at the Cradle of Aviation Museum I was looking for a different experience than I had last summer interning at the Special Collections library at Hofstra. Though I enjoyed archiving, I wanted to gain experience in an education environment. I also served as an intern to increase my professional networks and show employers that I could work in different settings. The history department here at Oneonta has become a great help in my career exploration. I have received good direction from many faculty members here and I knew I would be in good hands by interning through the history department.
During my time interning at the Cradle of Aviation I learned a number of new skills and a great deal about physics and aviation. I also created lesson plans for students in the classroom. How could I, for example, find toys that would demonstrate physics positively? I never realized how much research a teacher needs to do. It was also interesting to see how teachers work behind the scenes. And I got constructive criticism that I needed in order to pursue a career in education. Completing the internship at helped me realize what I enjoy doing. Through the internship I realized that I should aim for jobs that involve a combination of research and working with people. Participating in this internship made me see what am I really passionate about."
During her internship at Milne Library Special Collections, History major Emily Hunter’s principle task was to assist with the development of a book about the College’s history, which is scheduled for release in 2014 in honor of SUNY Oneonta’s 125th anniversary.
Image: Oneonta Normal School – Old Main, circa 1977. SUNY Oneonta History student Emily Hunter researched the history of this building as part of her internship at Milne Library Special Collections.
Angela Taylor (Sherburne Public Library)
"There are many reasons that I decided to undertake an internship at Sherburne Public Library. I always enjoyed libraries and reading, and therefore decided to find out what is expected of librarians. Going through this process allowed me to decide whether or not to go to Graduate School and which career I hope for. The internship was extremely helpful, and I would highly recommend other students try it. Before my internship, I was unsure of what I could do with my History degree in the future. During my time as an intern at Sherburne Public Library, I learned what programs, regulations, and restrictions non-profit libraries face. More than simply learning to work the desk, I learned how a non-profit library is run and how they are funded. The Sherburne Library uses a program called “Work Flows” to keep track of books and movies. Now that I know how to use this program, I could work in most libraries in New York. I was also taught how to do simple restorations on books, the process of cleaning sections, the ordering process, recent problems libraries face, and even social skills. For example, due to working in the children’s section and participating in programs put on by the library, I am now capable of handling large groups of children and conversing with them easily."
Tim Furlow (Long Island Maritime Museum Experience)
"My goals as an intern at the Long Island Maritime Museum were to learn about the career and culture of working in a museum, with the opportunity to gain skills and knowledge from the Maritime Museum staff. My duties included taking phone calls and research for a new exhibit on the War of 1812. I would also often help store things of different historical nature. I got to see the different attics and the organization system of the museum while carrying historical items to different locations. I also researched the locations of different ports on Long Island that were used for ship building based on the pictures the museum used. I used Google maps and posted stick-it notes all over a display of Long Island. On a non-education level I was used some of the time to do odd jobs. I would carry tables from place to place. Help carry large objects, weed wack, pull weeds, and sweep. Once I spent a whole day helping move boats. Economically the Long Island Maritime Museum opened my eyes. They have a very friendly easygoing staff, but they are very short staffed, and short of money. The Long Island Maritime Museum also helped motivate, and educate me that I cannot just expect to get a job in a museum. There appear to be very few jobs, and very small pay to go along with it. This reality just from being in the culture of the museum opened up my eyes to new possibilities. This curiosity has drawn me to law. Lawyers are, in some way, historians, since all of law is based on history. The Long Island Maritime Museum was an experience that will be engraved in my memory. I learned the positives and negatives. I am thankful that they allowed me into their work environment, and appreciated their honesty."