My summer internship at Harpers Ferry National Historic Park has been one of the most enlightening experiences of my life. I have learned many of the skills I need to become a public historian. Those skills include organizational skills; public speaking; both on an hour long tour and in the exhibits; and being able to interact with the public. I applied for this internship because I wanted to have some experience in the field of history, not really knowing what I was getting into. While working here for twelve weeks, I have really grown to enjoy public history more so than just teaching, because I am able to interact and instruct people from all different backgrounds and age groups.
I recommend this internship to anyone who is interested in history in general, especially Civil War history and early American history. How many other jobs are there which allow you to fire off nineteenth century weaponry to an amazed crowd, create mementos for visitors in the blacksmith shop, or handle and care for artifacts from the time period that you are studying? I have learned a great deal in Harpers Ferry and I feel much more prepared for the future. The skills I learned here are not only useful in public history but many other fields as well.