Internships are an essential part of career preparation in history. As supervised experiences in public history and other cultural institutions, internships introduce students to the demands of professional workplaces and provide the opportunity to develop valuable skills and knowledge. All M.A. students in history and those pursuing the graduate certificate in public history are required to do one internship and take HIST 608. MA students who major in public history must do a second internship and take HIST 618.
All internships must be approved by the internship coordinator in the Department of History. The following requirements must also be met.
Students are expected to work for a total of 150 hours. Students can fulfill this requirement in a shorter or longer period of time, proat the host institution is willing to accommodate a different schedule. Students often work intensively during the summer months to fulfill the requirement, for example.
Students must do a substantive project as part of the internship. While routine tasks are to be expected, students should be given the opportunity to use and develop their skills and knowledge, show creativity, and learn through active involvement in institutional programs. Ideally, the project should produce a tangible product that students will be able to show prospective employers. Examples include:
- a historical exhibit (traditional or online)
- an oral history collection
- an interpretive program or tour
- interpretive plans
- specialized research on a particular topic or topics
- finding aids for archival collections
- local landmark designation reports
- National Register of Historic Places nominations
- grant proposals
- conditions assessments for historic buildings and sites
- digitization projects
- lesson plans for elementary and secondary classes
Dr. Tracy K'Meyer coordinates all department internships. Students should make an appointment with her before starting an internship to discuss expectations and requirements.
Information for Host Institutions
We aim to limit the obligations of institutions and organizations that host interns as much as possible. Our basic requirements are as follows:
Someone on staff must serve as the designated contact for the internship. This person will communicate with the Department of History as needed.
Interns must be given opportunities to apply their skills and abilities to a project requiring creativity, initiative, and decision-making typical of professional employment. This especially pertains to the “substantive project” discussed above. While work of this kind need not constitute the focus of the internship, it should form a significant part.
Upon completion of the internship, the supervisor will write a written evaluation of the student’s performance. This evaluation should be a fair and honest critique that acknowledges strengths as well as weaknesses. Students are graded on their performance as interns, and the supervisor’s evaluation receives significant weight in determining the final grade. It may also be referenced in future letters of recommendation written by the internship coordinator.
At present, about 70 percent of our interns receive some sort of financial compensation. Host institutions usually pay $12-15/hr. Some pay students a bi-weekly or monthly stipend instead of hourly wages. Since students receive academic credit for internships, some do unpaid internships. Pay is not required of institutions and organizations that host interns. For obvious reasons, however, students tend to prefer paid over unpaid internships. Since it is rare for students to be fully supported by university or external funding during their graduate studies, even modest compensation can make a big difference.
Sample of Recent Internships
- Carol Bolton, Frazier History Museum
- Hannah O’Daniel, Sisters of Loretto Archives
- Jacob Burress, University of Louisville Archives
- Joanna Federico, Frazier History Museum
- Morgan Lockard, Liberty Hall Historic Site
- Ellen Rich, Locust Grove
- Hannah O’Daniel, Kentucky Historical Society
- Greyson Neff, Locust Grove
- Sarah McCoy, Locust Grove
- Ash Bruenecker, Collections Project- Louisville Metro Government
- Treva Hodges: Filson Historical Society
- Mary K. Marlatt, Kornhauser Library Archives
- Edward Wilson: Owensboro Museum of Science and History
- Hannah O’Daniel, University of Louisville Archives, Filson Historical Society
- Joanna Federico, Speed Art Museum
- Hailey Brangers, Frazier History Museum
- Sarah McCoy: Frazier Historical Museum
- Emma Bryan: Kentucky Oral History Commission
- Jessica Riley, National Museum of African American History and Culture
- Olivia Raymond, Frazier History Museum
- Olivia Raymond: Portland Museum, Filson Historical Society
- Mason Strange: Cave Hill Cemetery
- Samuel Dunn, Frazier History Museum
- Elizabeth Standridge, Filson Historical Society
- Rachel Lachut, Frazier History Museum
- Hailey Bangers, Frazier History Museum
- Alexis Doerr, Filson Historical Society
- Matthew Mooser, Commonwealth Center for Humanities and Society
- Michael Reikes, General George S Patton Museum of Leadership
- Eric Shoemaker- Frazier History Museum