Luther’s academic program stresses education beyond the classroom walls. We encourage students to engage in real-world learning in order to test their career goals and gain valuable professional experience. Internships are a crucial component of this experiential learning and Luther helps match history majors with choice internships at museums, historical societies, and various governmental organizations.
For more information about internship opportunities at Luther, visit Career Center’s internship program.
When: Spring, 2015
Where: National Archives and Records Administration
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) preserves and makes available the permanently valuable records of the federal government. In addition to its original location in Washington, DC, the agency has locations all over the country, including regional facilities and presidential libraries. Andrea, A History major and Museum Studies minors, spent the spring semester in Washington, DC, as a research intern with NARA's Office of Education and Public Programs. She split her time between researching materials in both the online catalog and physical collections, and helping with educational activities such as those in the Boeing Learning Center and museum tours. This has been a fantastic experience being part of NARA's work to promote democracy through use of their collections and has helped her develop knowledge and skills useful for entering the museum or archival field.
When: January, 2015
Where: Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum
The Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum is dedicated to the preservation of the immigrant story and is known as one of the most comprehensive museums in the United States dedicated to a single immigrant group. For her museum studies internship, Taylor spent the month of January in the museum's archives working with the personal papers and music transcripts belonging to the late Sigvart Hofland, composer and former professor at Luther College. Taylor surveyed, processed, sorted, arranged, and digitally cataloged Hofland's collections for the museum archive in order to make it available for research and use. This was a fascinating experience that only furthered Taylor's interest in pursuing a professional career in archives and special collections.
When: Summer, 2014
Where: Smithsonian Institution
As a double major in history and anthropology with a minor in museum studies, Emily was excited to be an intern for the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. It is one of the most visited museums in the country and works to commemorate and preserve the history and progress of aerospace technology. Emily worked in the collections department, which is in the process of moving the entire collection to a new storage facility. Her main tasks involved updating the documentation of various artifacts, as well as cleaning and moving medium-sized artifacts such as aircraft engines. One especially memorable moment of Emily’s internship was when she got to survey the tools used for the Apollo Lunar Module, getting a behind the scenes tour of the NASM’s spacesuit storage holding Neil Armstrong’s Apollo 11 suit. Overall, this experience renewed her love of space history and provided Emily with valuable work experience to help with future grad school applications and a future career in museums.
When: Summer, 2018
Where: Corinth, Greece
"Greece is a place where the layers and layers of earth compose the very foundation of Western civilization. Being able to handle pieces 2,000 years old is beyond my understanding," Aakre said. One of the most meaningful things he processed and cleaned was a pot sherd that contained the fingerprint of a slave. "When you're cleaning 48,000 pot sherds, you lose the human connection, so those little reminders that a human, who wasn't any older than me or my co-workers, lived here, brought me back to the importance of the dig. Even though the work could be considered mundane, this is part of the human story that hasn't truly been written about," he said.The majority of day-to-day work in the excavation at Kenchreai involved cleaning and processing the dig site by scrubbing, weighing and counting pot sherds. Over the course of the month, Aakre's team processed more than 48,750 pot sherds.
Reflecting on his experience, Aakre concluded that "being in the heart of Paulian Greece was impactful to me as a history and pre-seminary student, planning to attend Luther Seminary next year. Going to Acro-Corinth, visiting the ancient site there and getting to stand in the building where Paul was put on trial by Roman officials, contributed to my decision to attend seminary."
When: January, 2019
Where: Aase Haugen House in Decorah
During January term of her sophomore year at Luther College, history major Caroline Handley worked in the archive of Aase Haugen Senior Services (AHSS). Named after Norwegian immigrant Aase who immigrated with her parents and four brothers in 1854, the community includes an archive of the many people who have lived and worked at AHSS during its 100+ years. Caroline spent her J-term organizing the collection as well as cataloging new materials which were donated as a response to requests by AHSS. “This internship really gave me a new appreciation for local history,” says Handley. “It is an amazing opportunity to work with items that had been hidden away and to be able to give people the opportunity to view them, learn more, and inspire an appreciation for this organization.” This summer, Caroline will continue working with the local history of Decorah’s Norwegian immigrant population through an internship at the Vesterheim Museum.