Syllabus: Public History Internship

internship seminar @ suny brockport, spring 2021.

The Public History Internship course is a chance to get real world experience in local (or regional) archives, museums, or other historic sites—or online through a virtual internship. The History Department has on-going relationships with local and regional institutions. Inquiries about potential internship placements may be initiated by faculty or students and are established by mutual agreement. Each student should complete roughly 90 hours with a final project or 110 hours without one, depending on the specifics of the internship arrangement.

As with any job, there is some paperwork to complete. All students in an internship placement must fill out the internship contract with their site supervisor prior to or at the start of the semester. There is a short mid-term report from the site supervisor to complete, as well as a final report from the site supervisor. To help you reflect on and learn from your experience, students maintain an internship log, a set of short essays, and convene online for discussion.

Your site supervisor and course instructor will work with you to establish safe, respectful interactions, reasonable expectations, and clear guidelines for your internship. If you encounter any issues or problems at your internship, contact Professor Kramer. If you encounter a situation of discrimination or harassment, Professor Kramer can direct you to resources both confidential and otherwise (see the Discrimination and Harassment page for more information). If you require accommodations of some sort, please refer to the Disabilities and Accommodations page for more information.

What You Will Learn

This course is helps you gain real world experience in the field of public history, broadly conceived. Over the course of the semester, you will:

  • explore the broader field of public history and how historical inquiry and knowledge relates to publics, broadly conceived.
  • develop your understanding of a particular institution and how it relates to the broader field of public history.
  • gain experience with what it is like to work on a public history project.
  • improve your skills of researching and writing reflectively about your internship experience.
  • improve skills of oral presentation and communication.
  • learn how to use source citation using Chicago Manual of Style effectively and accurately.

How This Course Works

This course is meant to accompany your internship experience as an asynchronous online course. It consists of a set of written reflections, a public post about your internship experience for the Department of History blog with a conceptualization of the post “pitch” along the way, a contract between you and your site supervisor, a midterm evaluation from your site supervisor, a final evaluation from your site supervisor (see the Paperwork module), and a log of your hours and work at your internship. There is also an online Discussion Board for casual check ins and conversation with fellow interns and me. An optional final project is available for any student, but it can also serve as a backup if you fall short on completing the hours for your internship. You may have noticed that I use Canvas instead of Blackboard because I think it is slightly better designed. It’s not perfect, but more pleasant to look at and navigate and use as both an instructor and, I think, as a student (I’ll be curious to hear what you think at the end of the semester). If you have questions about the technical details of the course, or about the hybrid nature of the course, please feel free to contact me. Finally, the Covid pandemic makes things complicated and difficult, so check in with me if it is creating any obstacles for you successfully completing your internship and this course. I will try to be as flexible as possible while also being sure to help you get the most you can out of the requirements for the course.


  • Due at start of semester—Internship Letter of Agreement
  • Due by March 15—Internship Site Supervisor Midterm Eval Form
  • Due by May 21—Internship Site Supervisor Final Eval Form


  • Assignment—01 Course Contract and Student Info Card
  • Assignment—02 Beginnings
  • Assignment—03 Your Host Organization
  • Assignment—04 Checking In
  • Assignment—05 Futures
  • Assignment—Public Blog Post Conceptualization
  • Assignment—06 Knowledge & Skills
  • Assignment—Public Blog Post
  • Assignment—Log of Hours and Tasks
  • Assignment—Optional Final Project

*Assignments 02-06 inspired by prompts developed by Drs. Morag Martin, Jamie Spiller, and Bruce Leslie in the SUNY Brockport Department of History.

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