I volunteered in the fall of 2006 with the education department. I’ll be completely honest; it was not at all what I had envisioned. Instead of being a sleepy little office in a big park, the education office is remarkably busy all year long. Even without giving educational tours to school groups, the office remains steadfast in its ever-mounting workload. However, before I scare any potential interns away, I should mention that the work is very enjoyable and worthwhile. For example, I designed and executed a new puzzle for Catherine Bragaw (the education specialist) to use when she visits local schools and I revised the history search offered here for K-2 by adding rhymes, connect-the-dots, and coloring aspects for smaller budding historians.
The other chief aspect of the education department is indeed giving educational tours to school groups. This prospect was unnerving to me, even though I grew up in the same county and supposedly knew the history. Once again, I will be honest every single thought and fact flew out of my head on the first program. Luckily, I was helped by fellow intern, Cayla Gilliam. After my nerves calmed down and I realized that the children were not going to devour me, I had fun. I found that I learned more from them, than they probably did from me. Hands down, communicating with the public, mostly with the kids, was my favorite aspect. I love watching them learn and grasp the ideas that we present here at the park. By the way, I became very adept at leading programs on John Brown.
Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed my time and experiences here at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. I would recommend the internship programs in any field, as all of the staff are wonderful to work with. Additionally, the contacts you will make here at the park will be highly beneficial, not only for resume purposes, but as lifelong friends.