Melanie Levine ’13
Internship Site: Old Sturbridge Village - Sturbridge, MA
It has always been a dream of mine to work at a living history museum. I researched all of the museums in the New England area I had visited in the past and found that many of them had summer internships for college students. I applied to six museums and after my interview with Old Sturbridge Village, I knew I wanted to spend my summer there. I was very pleased that Old Sturbridge Village was able to accommodate my interest in both the education and interpretation programs. I was finally going to live my dream of working in costume at a living history museum while also working with children in a historical setting.
I was trained to work at four different sites in the village where I learned different tasks such as open hearth cooking, herbal remedies and how to conduct a 19th century schoolhouse lesson. At each site, I mostly talked to the visitors and informed them about the building they were in and about different aspects of everyday life that the village represents. In addition, I worked in the museum education department where I was an assistant teacher for their discovery adventure camp programs. I also worked on extra projects for the department coordinator on how to improve special program days in the village for home school students.
What I found challenging was feeling undertrained for my first days in a new station. Even though we had one full day training before placed in a station, many times this training involved reading information or listening to a lecture and not enough hands on practice to feel sufficiently trained. I overcame this challenge by preparing myself before my first day in each station and reading over my training materials. I would also ask questions to make sure I felt ready. I talked to other interns and staff members who had been in a station before me. From this challenge, I learned not to be afraid to ask for help when I needed it and it is better to be sure of the information.
I want to be a history teacher and this internship helped me learn how to teach people. This internship taught me how to teach others in a hands-on way using all of the senses. I can better connect with the history I will be teaching because I experienced it firsthand.
Tips from Melanie:
Think of something you always wanted to do and take advantage of the time we have now to explore different opportunities. Although I am not sure if working at OSV is something I want to do in the future I am glad I did this internship because it fulfilled a dream I always had and answered the question of whether or not I would want to work in museums. Look for something that you will enjoy doing because it will make the experience much more worthwhile. Do not limit yourself when looking for internship, but think outside the box and you will find something you enjoy to do as beneficial for the future.
*To find out more about how to get an internship, make an appointment with a career counselor. Just call the Career Center at 717-245-1740 or stop by Biddle House.