Elon students have performed internships for course credit (HST 481) and/or have volunteered at a variety of local public history sites. As volunteers, students have simultaneously served their communities and gained relevant work experience in the industry. As interns, students have tried out possible careers, earned course credit, and explored the relationship between “academic” and “public” history.
Alamance County Historical Museum (Burlington, NC)
The Alamance Historical Museum is located in “Oak Grove,” the antebellum seat of the Holt family and center of a grain plantation. The Holts played a prominent role in the textile industry that emerged in the South in the nineteenth century. The museum owns several Holt family manuscripts, is staffed by professionals, and is open most of the week. Internships have involved working with the manuscripts and with the museum itself.
Cedarock Historical Farm (Burlington, NC)
Cedarock Historical Farm is an historic site interpreting the nineteenth-century farm of John and Polly Garrett and is located in Cedarock Park. There is potential for an intern to serve as a tour guide, perform site work, participate in living history exhibitions, etc. and/or to perform research on the site and the area around it.
Those interested in internships should contact Vicki Wood, President of Friends of Cedarock Park.
Charlotte Hawkins Brown State Historic Site (Sedalia, NC)
Charlotte Hawkins Brown founded the Palmer Memorial Institute in 1902. The facility now both commemorates Brown and explores larger themes of African-American and women’s history. The director would welcome interns who are interesting in pursuing careers in museums, tourism, research, or restoration. The site staff work with you and your advisor on a suitable project, which might include helping with archival projects, artifact care, oral history, marketing and public relations, and maintenance of the site (as more buildings are restored).
Those interested in internships should contact Marian Inabinett at (336) 449-4846.
Glencoe Mill Village and Textile Heritage Museum (Glencoe, NC)
These closely related sites tell the story of textile manufacturing in the North Carolina Piedmont. The Glencoe Mill and the mill village were constructed in the early 1880s by brothers William and James Holt on the banks of the Haw River north of Burlington and are currently being restored. The Textile Heritage Museum has a display of textile mill machinery and other artifacts and pictures that interpret Glencoe’s history. The museum also has a large collection of mill records—most of it uncatalogued and stored in the museum basement. In addition to service with the museum, cataloguing artifacts, etc., there may be possibilities for oral history and historic preservation.
The Greensboro Historical Museum (Greensboro, NC)
The museum offers a wide variety of internship opportunities, including at least one paid position each summer. The Museum, located in downtown Greensboro, includes collections running from decorative arts to toys and textiles. The archives contain family papers, newspapers, and photographs, with particularly strong holdings in colonial Guildford County, the Civil War, the Civil Rights Movement, and textile manufacturing. Please see their website for announcements regarding current internships.
Orange County Historical Museum (Hillsborough, NC)
Hillsborough, as the county seat of Orange County, was an important center of commerce and governance before the American Revolution. The Historical Foundation of Hillsborough and Orange County operates the museum, which houses thousands of artifacts and serves as a center for ongoing education about the county. Their projects vary, but they try to suit the interests of the student. Some projects include collection inventory, archive inventory, school program creation and implementation, research for creating a pamphlet on historical African-American figures in Orange County or research for a temporary exhibit.
Reynolda House Museum of American Art (Winston Salem, NC)
Once the home of the Reynolds family, tobacco scions and philanthropists, the Reynolda House is now an art museum. Visitors to the museum—with all of its carefully resorted rooms—can study the art itself, the Reynolds family, and the complex legacy of big tobacco. The Reynolda House has a well developed internship program.
Historic Stagville Plantation (Durham, NC)
Stagville historic site is situated on a portion of what was one of the largest plantations of the antebellum South. The Bennehan-Cameron family owned nearly 900 slaves and 30,000 acres of land by 1860. The site features the original home of the Bennehan family, outbuildings, an intact slave quarter (one of the few still standing), and a large barn constructed by slaves in 1860. Historic Stagville has a well developed internship program.
For students who can do internships over the summer or during winter term in areas other than piedmont North Carolina, there are virtually limitless possibilities. Students have interned at state historic sites or National Park Service sites across the nation. The Washington Center is a clearinghouse for high-quality internships in the nation’s capital and has been another source of internships for Elon students. History majors in recent years have interned through the Washington Center at the Smithsonian Institute, the United States Capitol Historical Society, and the United States Naval Historical Center. Please consult with Pam Brumbaugh in Career Services to pursue this opportunity.
In general, if you have an idea you would like to pursue, speak with your advisor or Career Services to learn what you need to do to get academic credit for an internship at that site. We will be happy to work with you. The Department of History and Geography’s point person for internships is Charles Irons.