History in the Making

A Day in the Life of an Intern……


Hi, my name is Elena Smith and I am an intern at the Stanly County Museum! I am a graduate student at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and I am a thesis track MA-History student. I hope that this blog will help to paint a vivid picture of what it is like to work in a museum as an intern, and hopefully you might become interested in becoming an intern or volunteer! For this first blog entry I thought I would begin with the beginning of my journey here thus, far.


Initially, I did not anticipate on doing an internship of any kind. I wanted to get a feel for the first semester of graduate school, and well…  survive my first semester. I am not going to lie, it has been tough, but I have been getting through it – one day at a time. I have had the fortunate opportunity to come in contact with the Museum Manager, Julie Hawks, and from there I decided that this was something I wanted to do, something I needed to do.

Despite being pulled in many directions, with the many responsibilities that I am juggling in school, I truly am enjoying interning at the museum. I have learned so much, more than I could ever hope for. I am still growing, learning, and learning to juggling many responsibilities. Which, in this day in age, is a life skill necessity.

On a typical day, I am scanning historic documents so that the museum can have a digital copy and so the public can have access to that through the internet. I have had the opportunity to use Past Perfect. There is still much to be learned with that program, and I hope in a blog entry I can further elaborate on that in depth. When I am not scanning documents, I get to interact with visitors. (Which for me is the fun part) I love people!

So far, some of the visitors that I have been able to meet are Stanly County residents or visitors passing through town on vacation. Either way, every visitor is a joy to meet and speak to. I like to get a feel of their personalities when they come through the door, and genuinely am interested to get to know them in that little amount that they are here. As I am training to become a historian, I have learned that a part of our job is to get to know the people we are studying, no matter what era they’re from and that includes the present. Besides, history is about analyzing change over time. I enjoy showing them inside the museum, and taking them up to the Snuggs and Marks-Freeman’s house. That is my opportunity to connect them to the past. It is in that moment when I am telling the narrative or feeling documents that were written hundred years ago that I realize this is where I belong. This is my passion, and that makes every drive to the museum worthwhile.

If you have any specific questions, please do not hesitate to shoot me an e-mail, and I will do an entry on questions that have been submitted! Thank you for stopping by, and I hope to meet you in person! We can always use extra hands at the museum who share a passion in history. In the meantime, enjoy a few snapshots I have taking around the museum, and of the wonderful people I have had the opportunity to meet.

Elena Smith​