Internship report - Reflecting on Latinx representation in Kentucky archives

By Emma Donaghy (BA 2023, History major) - Summer 2023

I did my internship at the Filson Historical Society here in Louisville. I worked with the Director of Collections and Research, Dr. Patrick Lewis, to develop a plan to engage in outreach with local Hispanic and Latinx communities to create a roadmap for the Filson to expand on its Latinx collections and programming.

My main responsibilities were archival and outreach based. I assessed the Arthur Yager Papers, a collection of correspondence of a governor of Puerto Rico appointed by President Woodrow Wilson in 1913. I wrote a grant proposal for the digitization of the collection which contains letters from U.S. presidents on topics such as natural disasters, labor, and suffrage. Additionally, I set up meetings with local Latinx organizations, connection the Filson with community partners.

From this experience, I learned important strategic planning skills. I’ve earned wonderful historical training at UofL, including research and semester-long planning skills. I was able to expand on these skills during my internship and engage in long-range planning, a skill important for any job.

One of my favorite moments visiting the Kentucky Historical Society in Frankfort to learn about oral history work done in the state. After, we met with the staff at UofL’s Hispanic, Latinx, and Indigenous Initiatives to learn about the oral history work they have done with local Latinx community members.

I am pursuing a Master’s degree in Public History from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and hope to work in museums, archives, and libraries. My internship helped me to see what a day is like at a historical institution and engage with both the public in my outreach role and with historical materials in my archival role.