UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAM INTERNSHIPS
Many of our history majors have benefited from internships at institutions in the Buffalo area and beyond. An internship provides a valuable opportunity to acquire work experience and explore how historical knowledge is produced and communicated outside the classroom.
HIS 496: Public History Internship
In this course students learn to connect their historical studies with the world outside the academy by doing an internship at a historical site or museum. Students may get credit for one three-credit course by participating in a semester-long public history internship. The internship site must have a strong connection to history. Typical local examples include the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, Old Fort Niagara, the Amherst Museum, and the Roosevelt Inaugural Site, though others are possibilities. Students must arrange the internship themselves. Students must work 8-10 hours per week for the duration of the semester and submit a 7-10 page paper at the end of the internship detailing the intern’s responsibilities and the connections between the internship and the student’s program of study. The intern also must submit a letter from a supervisor describing the intern’s responsibilities. The student will receive a letter grade based on the quality of the work and the paper. This course does not count toward one of the two 400-level seminars required for History majors.
How to proceed:
Contact a historical organization of your choice (some examples are listed below). When you have identified a host institution, notify the History Department’s Director of Undergraduate Studies (Park 540). The director will approve eligible internships and help you enroll in HIS 496.
The following organizations have hosted UB History students in the past. You may contact these organizations or others that have a historical focus. Do not feel you have to limit yourself to this list.
Jessica Johnson, Curator
Phone: 716.689.1440, Ext. 7720
Aurora Town Historian
5 South Grove Street
East Aurora, NY 14052
Robert Lowell Goller, Town Historian
Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society
Tara Lyons, Museum Educator
Phone: 716.873.9644, Ext. 311
Jewish Buffalo Archives Project
Dr. Chana R. Kotzin, Project Coordinator
Old Fort Niagara
Steel Plant Museum
Spencer Morgan, Curator
Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site
Lenora Henson, Curator
Phone: 716.884.0095, Ext. 14
Uncrowned Queens Institute for Research and Education on Women, Inc.
Dr. Peggy Brooks-Bertram
Dr. Barbara Nevergold
Mark Boonshoft, Jewish Buffalo Archives Project:
“I signed up to do public history internship credits at the Jewish Buffalo Archives Project because I thought it was a place where I would receive individualized attention from my mentor and thus get more out of the program. I turned out to be correct.”
“I transcribed oral histories and, firsthand, saw the value of that form of history…(T)he archives that I am currently processing could one day be the basis of an article or monograph about Buffalo’s response to the Soviet Jewry crisis which, beyond being interesting on its own, could perhaps help future historians make sense of the local movements in cities to help Soviet Jewish refugees.”
Stephanie Molnar, Amherst Museum:
“I love going to museums and viewing their exhibits, but I never realized how much work went into their preparation. Helping in the storing and cataloging of museum artifacts helped me to appreciate the value in seemingly small items and their connection to the past. A 19th-century mousetrap, for example, is no longer just a contraption of metal and wood, it is now a window into domestic practices of people many years ago.”
Sarah MacLean, Black Rock-Riverside Good Neighbors Planning Alliance:
“The Black Rock-Riverside Good Neighbors Planning Alliance has created a plan for redeveloping their community as a historic neighborhood. The Black Rock public history internship is a part of this community project that is working toward attaining rehabilitation funding to support their efforts.”
“The University is creating a bridge between academia and the local community, and giving support to the preservation of that community’s history…The project offers experience in presenting historical knowledge to the public and to further add cultural and social meaning to an old neighborhood. For a history and anthropology major, it is important to develop an understanding of how to broaden knowledge that embraces the past, present, and future at the same time.”