Internship report - Digitizing collections at the Filson Historical Society

By Zachary Keown (BA 2023, History major) - Summer 2023

In Spring 2023 I worked as a digital collections intern at the Filson Historical Society. Over the course of my internship, I digitized multiple collections and made them easily accessible on the Filson’s website. When I first started my internship, I was really nervous since I was entirely unfamiliar with the work and wasn’t sure if I was up to the task. Despite my initial hesitance, I’m incredibly happy that I went through with it and I’m so thankful for the opportunities that it gave me. It was nerve-racking, but in the end, I gained a ton of hands-on experience, learned more about what an archivist’s job entails, and met lots of new (and very nice!) colleagues.

In my internship, I worked on two major projects, as well as a few minor ones. The work itself was enjoyable — it gave me plenty of opportunity to research various topics and figure out how I wanted to present the collections I was digitizing in a way that was useful and easily navigable. What really struck me though was when I completed my first project, and I had the feeling of creating something practical that would be used by others. It was incredibly satisfying to know that what I created had real value.

I’m planning to become an archivist. My internship at the Filson broadened my perspective on the possibilities within the field. I really underestimated just how much work as an archivist can vary and the different ways that I could specialize. Additionally, I met and worked alongside tons of people who were already established in the field, which was nice since I was able to consult with them and I received tons of fantastic advice. When I was offered another internship over the summer, I gladly accepted.

Links to the collections I worked on: 

West Louisville Evangelical Church Register

Jasper D. Ward Architectural Drawings

Grossman Chapman Klarer Architects Inc. Architectural Drawings

Zachary Keown at work at the Filson Historical Society