Syllabus—Public History Internship

seminar @ suny brockport, spring 2024.

HST 485/585—Spring 2024—Dr. Michael J. Kramer, Department of History, State University of New York (SUNY) Brockport

What are we up to?

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 allows you to build a reflective dimension to your public history internship this semester. We will keep it simple, but substantive. There are two assignments: a mid-semester, a final reflection, and a blog post for the Department of History’s Timelines website (see examples from the Fall 2023 course). If you wish to develop an additional project or essay or something else from your internship, consult with me. As needed, we will convene a few times to check in over the semester. If you encounter any issues or problems at your internship site or have any concerns, please contact me or the chair of the Department of History as soon as possible.


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


  • Weekly hours and tasks
  • Mid-Semester Reflections
  • Final Reflections
  • Blog Post Draft
  • Blog Post

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