Internships

"I was the historian, not just the student."

Being so close to Des Moines, Iowa, affords our history students many opportunities to obtain internships through the Iowa History Center where they can put their study of history to use.  Students serve as research assistants in many of their internships, producing work that will be used in public displays or educational programs.  The internship experience is a valuable experience for our students to make their own contributions to the preservation and promotion of history.  Internships allow Simpson students to practice the art of being the historian.

 

“My internship at The Iowa History Museum was an amazing experience! I not only learned the Iowa stories that involve this collection but have gained a better understanding of why it is important to the people of Iowa. I learned how a collection is taken care, how artifacts are chosen for displays, and how to properly display artifacts with descriptions that are not only informative but interesting to the patrons of the museum.”

~ Bobbi Oelmann '19
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“I was fortunate enough to be the Collections Intern at Living History Farms. This experience was helpful to me because I got to see history in action. The large collection at Living History Farms gave me experience in how to care for, catalog, and identify different objects that reside in the collection. This internship helped me find out whether or not I wanted to pursue a career in museums.”

~Tyler Stokesbary '17

“My internship at the Iowa Jewish Historical Society helped me explore the day-to-day operations of a small museum. Specifically, I learned how to use the Past Perfect software, identified and catalogued historical artifacts, and transcribed recordings of oral history. My experiences at the IJHS showed me one of the ways I can apply my history degree, while also exposing me to the differences between public and private history.”

~ Mallory Hanson '17
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“My time at the Fort Des Moines Museum has opened my eyes to how historical issues are presented in a public as opposed to an academic setting. I gained first-hand knowledge of how a small museum operates, learned how to use Past Perfect software, worked with historical artifacts and indexed them, and interacted with board members.”

~ Paul Safford '16

“Through my internship at the Iowa Jewish Historical Society (IJHS), I experienced many new and exciting opportunities! I was able to use both my German and history majors during my internship when I worked on translating documents. I also learned how to use the Past Perfect software, re-created my own exhibits inside the museum, assisted with fundraising, and attended a few board meetings.”

~ Ally Zarr '16
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“I interned at Salisbury House and participated in all aspects of a small museum. I worked on the cataloging program and helped organize the museum’s extensive object and book collection. As the semester went on, I began giving tours and learned about how the Salisbury House Foundation chooses to interpret the story of this home. I even began doing my own research in the files and photo albums of the Weeks family, who built and owned the home, to create an exhibit proposal.”

~ Krystal Daggett '15

“I interned at the Salisbury House and at Fort Des Moines Museum. Through these internships, I learned new skills that bettered my understanding of what it takes to catalog, store and clean items. I learned how to apply what I learned in the classroom as well as from the department, to understand the concept of Public History and how it differs from teaching or working at the college level with history.”

~ Katie Purvis
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Recent Internship Opportunities have included:

  • Des Moines Metropolitan Opera Company
  • Fort Des Moines Museum and Education Center
  • Greater Des Moines Partnership
  • Hotel Fort Des Moines
  • Iowa Department of the Blind
  • Iowa History Center
  • Iowa Jewish Historical Society
  • Living History Farms
  • Marvo Entertainment Group
  • Salisbury House
  • State Historical Society
  • Terrace Hill
Stephanie Turner

“I interned at the Iowa Jewish Historical Society and learned how to handle historical artifacts properly and how to catalog objects with PastPerfect. My favorite part of my internship was piecing together the life stories of Iowa Jewish families and having the opportunity to handle artifacts that still require research to reveal their historical context and story.”

~ Stephanie Turner

“Some of the artifacts I discovered include an 1888 aerial photograph of downtown Des Moines (prior to the airplane), the 1927 visit of Charles Lindbergh to Des Moines, and so many other amazing and interesting things.”

~ Kristina Kelehan '14
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“I have learned a tremendous amount about the discipline of history and the avenues of research.”

~ Ryan Stumbo '13

“I helped build a history website for the [Iowa Department of the Blind]. Our goal was to make the history of blindness in Iowa and the nation accessible to the general public.”

~ Keely Goshia '13
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Allie Walker

“It was fun to read articles and letters from famous hotel patrons such as Vice President Spiro Agnew and Kathryn Hepburn.”

~ Allie Walker '12

“By using original documents, newspaper articles, books, decedents and many other sources, we were able to piece together the lives of [African American officers in World War I] and create biographies that had not been done before.”

~ Roxanne Vance and Allison Stevens '11
Allison Haack

“The information I collected will be used in displays at the Fort Des Moines Museum.”

~ Allison Haack, '10