Public History Internship
History 4486
State University of West Georgia

Dr. Ann McCleary
Public History Coordinator
History Department, Office: TLC 3-211

Course Objectives
      An internship is an excellent opportunity for a student to apply knowledge gained through course work in public history and in history courses to a hands-on work experience. Through internships, students may also identify careers that they would like to pursue. The goals of an internship are:

1. To learn more about the public history field. Students may pursue internships to determine which aspects of public history work best match their own interests and talents. The intern will be exposed to ethical issues in the field and will learn more about the broad range of knowledge and skills that are required in various sectors of this field.
2. To develop and hone skills in public history for future employment, from museum interpretation and registration to grantwriting or archives arrangement or description. Public history internships offer practical work experience that prepares students for careers. Students can list internships as work experience on their resumes. Sometimes, internship positions may even lead into part-time or full-time work.
3. To interact with and learn from other public historians in a work setting. Internships offer students the opportunity to network with other public history professionals. The professionals with whom interns work may become valuable sources of information for students in their careers and these individuals may also help students obtain jobs.

      Internship sponsors view an intern as they would one of their own employees. Interns should return the respect of their employer and consider an internship as they would a job experience. Interns are expected to abide by the policies of their sponsor, to report to their work as determined by the internship sponsor, to complete the work assigned to them according to the schedule agreed upon by the sponsor and student, and to act professionally at all times. Interns represent the university and their conducts reflects upon the university, the history department, and the public history program. Your success ensures that opportunities may be available to students from our school in the future; if you are not successful, the sponsor may chose not to accept another intern from our institution. Therefore, we expect you to be a good ambassador for our program.

      Some internships may offer compensation for the hours work. In such situations, this compensation will be determined ahead of time and arranged between the intern and the sponsoring institution. However, the majority of internship are unpaid.

Arranging an internship
      Students are responsible for arranging the internship in cooperation with the public history faculty at UWG. Public history internships can include a variety of types of organizations, including museums, historic preservation agencies, historical societies, archives, state humanities councils, state and regional parks, the National Park Service, and other government and private agencies and community-based organizations which present history to the public. Positions are also available in several campus departments and programs, including special program opportunities through the Center for Public History.

      The Public History Coordinator maintains a listing of available opportunities in an internship notebook. As new internships become available, these will be posted on the public history bulletin board and added to the notebook. We ask each sponsor to develop a position description. In some cases, these descriptions may remain consistent from year to year and in other cases sponsors develop new internship positions. We are also willing to pursue other internship sponsors that students select if opportunities are available at those agencies.

      Students should try to arrange the internship as far in advance as possible. Some agencies, like the Atlanta History Center, require students to apply in advance according to their schedule.

      To apply for an internship, students should first contact me to discuss your specific interests and backgrounds. Each student must meet certain basic criteria:

1. An overall undergraduate GPA of 2.8 or better or a history GPA of 3.0 or better;
2. Sufficient course work in history and public history to successfully meet the internship expectations;
3. A completed internship application with a written statement describing the student's reasons for wanting to pursue an internship;
4. The name of one reference in the History Department who knows the quality of the student's work and can speak to the student's dependability and reliability.

      Once the student's application has been received, s/he should meet with the Public History Coordinator to discuss the internship possibilities of interest to the student and for which the student would qualify. The student is then responsible for contacting the selected sponsor and for arranging a time to meet with the internship sponsor. The internship sponsor will make the final determination as to whether the student's interest and abilities match those of the agency.

Course Requirements

1. Complete an internship application and identify a sponsor for your internship before the semester begins or, at the very latest, by the end of the late registration period. Instructions on how to arrange an internship are included with this syllabus. The internship application must be on file with me by the first day of classes.
2. Develop a work contract with your internship sponsor and provide a copy of this contract to me by the end of the first week of class. I will provide the work contract form for you to complete. Please be as specific as possible on the form in identifying the objectives of the internship, the work responsibilities and activities you will undertake, the approximate number of hours to be allocated to each activity area, the specific work products you will complete and/or create, the required dates for completing this work, and your weekly work schedule. Also, please be sure to record sufficient contact information for your supervisor so that I can easily reach him or her.
3. Perform 150 hours of internship work experience for three-hours of internship credit. Internship hours include time spent reading for the internship, correspondence, writing, or other work-related assignments. All hours must be completed by the final class day of the semester. Based on previous student experience here at UWG, I advise you to schedule your hours throughout the semester. If you put them off until the end of the semester, you may find that you have insufficient time to complete the required hours. You must complete all 150 hours and you must document these hours through a journal to pass this class.
4. Maintain a daily journal. Write a journal entry for each day worked, recording the number of hours worked, the types of work that you performed, and any observations, thoughts, or comments that you want to share relevant to what you have learned that day. You should maintain the journal on a daily basis so that you can reflect on the work in which you are involved.
5. Attend required internship meetings with UWG internship supervisor. Interns are required to attend several types of meetings. I will arrange meetings for all UWG interns to meet as a group once during the semester to share internship experiences and to reflect on what you are learning. I will contact you about potential meeting dates and times. Also, whenever possible, I will plan a site visit to meet you when and where you are working to learn more about your work and to meet your internship sponsor and discuss your work. These meetings will usually take place sometime around the middle of the semester. I will count on you to advise me of several possible meeting times and to schedule the meeting with your sponsor.
6. Communicate regularly with me throughout the semester. Please keep in touch with me so that I know how your internship is progressing, through a combination of meetings, telephone conversations, and email communications. I ask that you talk with me at least once very two weeks, at the minimum sending an email update describing what you are doing. If any problems or issues arise or if you need assistance in a particular area, please contact me as soon as possible.
7. Complete a written mid-term evaluation answering all questions on a form that I will provide to you by the date that I request it. For 15-week internships (Fall and Spring semesters), please submit this evaluation sometime during the 8th week of class. For summer internships, please determine the mid-term date and submit the evaluation at that time.
8. Develop a portfolio of your internship work, including an essay that evaluates your internship experience, and submit the portfolio to me by the first day of final exams. The portfolio should include examples of the types of work that you completed during the course of your internship. This portfolio could include photographs of you at work, samples of letter sor other written work that you complete, newspaper articles about your work, sponsor evaluations of your work, etc The essay evaluation should be about five to six pages assessing what you learned from the experience and your performance during the semester. The final internship evaluation form provides specific questions for you to answer in writing this essay.

      All students will receive a letter grade for the internship, unless otherwise arranged in advance. I will assign the grade, based upon several factors:

1. Successful completion of the required internship hours;
2. The completion and quality of the written products-the mid-term evaluation, the daily journal, and the internship portfolio;
3. My assessment of the intern's work performance and the skills and knowledge that he/she developed, based on our internship meetings and discussion;
4. Evaluations of the intern's work provided by the internship sponsors at the mid-term and at the end of the semester.
5. The intern's ability to apply their training in history and public history to a work setting.


Department of History
Technology Learning Center
University of West Georgia
Carrollton GA 30118
Phone: (678)839-6508
Fax: (678)839-6448
Copyright © 2001 University of West Georgia