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Learning History and Culture Through Internships

Drew’s graduate program expands access to them.

March 2019 – The History and Culture graduate program at Drew University is expanding access to internships through two new agreements.

The program, part of Drew’s Caspersen School of Graduate Studies, previously facilitated internships or jobs for students at Morristown National Historical Park or Drew’s own United Methodist Archives and History Center. The agreements formalize those relationships and provide a total of four internships at the sites each academic year.

Such internships allow graduate students to “gain the type of experience that is crucial for any career in the public humanities,” explained Ed Baring, convenor of the History and Culture program and an associate professor of modern European history.

Here’s how three History and Culture students who’ve worked or interned at the sites described the experience.

Peter Mabli, PhD student and assistant director of online programs for the American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning

Internship: Morristown National Historical Park

Responsibilities: Helped develop a two-week summer camp for high school students to learn about historic archives and research, and how best to present the information to the public.

What I learned: “One of the goals of Drew’s History and Culture program is to move scholarship beyond academia and engage the public in new ways. I was able to think very deliberately about how to present historic research methods and materials to the public.”

Becca Miller, PhD student and adjunct instructor at Drew

Job: United Methodist Archives and History Center

Responsibilities: Processes materials like letters, photographs, diaries, artifacts, newspaper clippings and personal papers. Catalogs Methodist books and contemporary magazines.

What I’ve learned: “Working at the archives and processing collections has changed the way I approach research and the study of history. As historians, we must rely on the archives but rarely consider the preservation choices, the processing of collections, and the cataloging choices, which are essential for the field.”

Kelly Morgan, PhD student

Internship: Morristown National Historical Park

Responsibilities: Archival research to bring attention to women’s education in the early republic.

What I learned: “I found records of slave-owning on several 18th-century New Jersey properties. My experience as a research intern has proved to be invaluable when applying to jobs in the museum field—both for the research experience and as a means of interpreting the past for a current audience.”