Sunday, October 4, 2009

Tips for Prospective Interns

I have already received many emails from fellow college students who share my love of history. Their questions are all the same: How do I get an internship at Gettysburg? Well, here are some tips which you may find of use.

I would begin by typing up a resume. Throw in everything of note you have ever achieved during and since High School. Also, get involved with local historical societies, museums, and non-profit groups in your area. The park is looking for people who have some experience in the field of history, especially young people who have given tours/presentations at other sites. For instance, I volunteered at a National Park and my county historical society. These are the best credentials you can have. I didn't include a reference letter written by a professor or anything, but it can't hurt. I did however include a reference list with names and contact info of people I previously worked with (either professional or volunteering). Also include any projects or papers you have completed regarding history. The more you include the better. Volunteer. Volunteer!

The internship itself is fantastic. You would be required to perform a number of tasks during the course of the summer. They usually include: two battle tours/presentations (usually of your choice from a list of available programs), aid with the "Join the Army" Children's Programs, education carts (hands on stuff with kids) through the museum halls, informal battlefield "roves," working the front desk, research projects, and helping rangers with other programs if needed.

Male interns live in an old brick farmhouse right near Culp's Hill and it's only a five minute walk from the visitor center. It's a very convenient location.

The internship is most definitely worth it! You will learn so much. In addition, you may get school credits for it. I got 4 History credits for mine.

I believe applications were due in late November. So, I'd get your materials in by the end of October at the very latest. The sooner you get the stuff in the better. It shows commitment on your part, and the deciders notice that. Therefore, I'd get started your resume and quickly get involved in historical groups if you aren't already.

Getting to know some rangers helps as well. Tell them why you are interested and kindly ask for some more information. This is a good way to get your foot in the door. They will take more notice of your resume because of the personal connection they already have with you. If you are in Gettysburg before that time, feel free to talk to a ranger and ask questions. Go on some programs to get a feel for what you might be doing. They'd be happy to answer your questions. Below is the information form that Education Specialist Barb Sanders sent me a year ago when I was expressing interest. Her email address can be found here.

The Summer Internship Program
Gettysburg National Military Park

Are you interested in a career with the National Park Service? Do you enjoy talking to people from across the country and around the world? Would you like to share your interest in history and help others enjoy the stories of this park? Gettysburg NMP offers internships to motivated, enthusiastic individuals who seek to share their talents and gain valuable work experience.

We want you to enjoy your internship and be successful. Interns receive up to 40 hours of formal training as well as on-the-job training as part of their internship. Training is in subjects such as, meeting/greeting the public; operating visitor facilities, organizing and presenting effective interpretive talks, interpretive techniques, and radio/safety procedures.

A typical internship in the Division of Interpretation at Gettysburg NMP consists of three things. Interns help staff the information desk at our two visitor contact facilities. This offers experience in meeting and greeting the public, providing information/orientation to the park and area, as well as an understanding of what it is visitors seek in a visit to the park. Interns are also responsible for researching, preparing and presenting two different interpretive programs, one relating to the Battle of Gettysburg, and the other dealing with the themes evoked by the National Cemetery and President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

Internships are typically offered in the summer months when the park is busiest, but occasionally the park can provide internship opportunities in the Fall and Spring. A typical internship lasts 10-12 weeks. Interns work 40 hours each week, and weekend work can be expected. Positions are unpaid, although the park provides free housing and a cost of living stipend.

Our interns are in public contact positions and therefore are required to wear a uniform (usually khaki pants and a dark blue shirt). Currently we provide a uniform allowance to cover this cost.

To apply for an internship at Gettysburg NMP you should submit a resume and cover letter. Your resume should include your name, address, telephone number, the names of any colleges or universities attended, and a brief synopsis of your work experience. Your cover letter should address why you want an internship at Gettysburg NMP, and what you hope to gain from it.

Good luck to all you students of History out there!


  1. If only I had had this type of information when I was in college. Or maybe I should say if I had only had this type of ambition when I was in college. Great information that I'm sure will be of help to others. Thanks for sharing Jared! Robert

  2. Thanks Robert. I too hope it is helpful to others.

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