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History Lover Learns from the Past

The York County Heritage Trust

Photo by York County Heritage Trust.

Katelyn Miller '10 ran into a host of ancestors on her summer internship.

The student in the College of Arts and Sciences and School of International Service was surrounded by colonial quilts, Victorian feathers, and old family names while an intern at the York County Heritage Trust, in the town where her family pioneered in the 1740s.

The internship was a return to a longtime love. When Miller was 12 her elementary school visited the museum, and captivated, she asked to work there.

“They said, ‘Well, you could give tours,' So I learned,” she says.

Miller gave tours, sometimes in costume, at the popular tourist stop between Gettysburg and Amish Country until drawn away to college in another historic town—Washington D.C.

History is everywhere

In 2006, Miller enrolled in the School of International Service (SIS), but Miller missed taking history classes, and added history as a double major.

She then volunteered at the historical society after freshman year and asked the Director of Exhibits and Collections about internships, and signed on in May 2008.

Because she wanted to earn academic credit for the internship, Miller fulfilled the requirements:

  • read a half-dozen books on public history
  • write weekly journal entries
  • interview a professional in the field
  • write a paper
  • compile a portfolio of projects worked on

Professor Kathleen Franz, who heads AU’s public history program, and history chair Robert Griffith supervised Miller’s work, which included cataloging the collection online, helping prepare a costume exhibit, and researching dances that her ancestors may have attended.

Miller plans to be part of history with a career in international relations.

“You need history to really have knowledge about international interactions," she says. "It’s an important part of international study."