Beginning in the Spring 2020 semester, the UNCP Department of History will have a limited number of internships for students interested the field of Public History and who have completed HST 4740/5740 . Dr. Jaime Martinez has established partnerships with the following four institutions, each offering at least one internship for students who have completed HST 4740/5740 (Introduction to Public History).

  • UNCP’s Museum of the Southeast American Indian
  • The Museum of the Cape Fear
  • The Airborne & Special Operations Museum
  • The Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site

In addition students may apply independently for internships sponsored by other organizations, including the ones offered to students at minority institutions by the state of North Carolina

Interns will receive academic credit for their work by simultaneously enrolling in HST 4840/5840 (Public History Internship). Below is information about that course.


HST 4840/5840 (Public History Internship)

Dr. Jaime Amanda Martinez;
Time & Location TBD by intern and partner site
3 credit hours (140-160 contact hours with partner site)

Course Description
An internship experience that allows students to combine theory and course content knowledge with practice through hands-on experience in one of several public history venues in UNCP’s service region. Working approximately 12 hours per week under professional supervision, students learn how to apply their classroom education to the day-to-day work of that site as well as a specific study area like exhibit design, museum education, or collections management. The student will meet with the faculty supervisor three times throughout the internship semester and produce bi-weekly reflection papers, and will also be evaluated by the internship site supervisor. 3 semester hours. PREREQ: instructor permission.

Pathways to Internships
The number of students seeking an internship varies from semester to semester as well as the experiences students are seeking to learn from.  As a result, the department has established flexible ways to meet students’ internship needs.  Below are three ways that students are able to secure internships.

  1. Arrange an internship with a pre-established UNCP history department partner site. We have established on- and off-campus partners who can accommodate Public History Interns during the fall and spring semesters. Some may also be able to work with students interested in summer internships. Please see Dr. Martinez to discuss the available options each semester and find one that matches your goals, interests, schedule, and travel needs. Our current partners are UNCP’s Museum of the Southeast American Indian, the Museum of the Cape Fear, the Airborne & Special Operations Museum, and the Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site. Placement with any of our established partners will be limited to students who have displayed professionalism and historical competence in advanced history coursework, especially HST 3000, with preference given to those who have successfully completed HST 4740/5740 Introduction to Public History.
  2. Apply for a competitive internship program.  Many state and national museums, historic sites, and history-focused agencies employ interns.  Many of these types of internships are part of a program that requires a competitive application. You can search for such programs online; we will post links on the department website when we learn about opportunities.  Students are required to provide proof of acceptance into the program and a work plan that meets the expectations of the course in order to register for HST 4840 or 5840.
  3.  Establish your own internship opportunity.  You may be aware of internship opportunities at museums or historic sites that are not current UNCP partners, especially if you already perform volunteer work at those sites. County agencies and even private businesses may also need interns to perform historical research that will be shared in public venues. Such opportunities will be assessed for quality and the ability to meet educational goals of your program of study.  CURRENT PAID EMPLOYMENT MAY NOT BE USED FOR INTERNSHIP CREDIT. Before you can gain credit for a self-established internship, you must get approval from Dr. Martinez.  

Internship Requirements
These requirements are subject to change if you are part of an internship program that is a competitive program with specialized, academic work requirements in addition to employment.  Most interns should expect to complete the following requirements:

  1.  Internship should have between 140-160 hours for the fall or spring semester (this works out to about 12 hours per week).  You should establish a schedule that is agreeable to both you and the employer before the start of the internship. This means that if there are irregularities to the schedule (variation in days/times, variation in hours per week, etc.), they should be agreed upon beforehand. All of this should be established in the Internship Confirmation Form submitted to Dr. Martinez. Terms of employment listed in a competitive internship letter of acceptance may be submitted in lieu of this form.
  2. Your supervisor is willing to complete the end-of-term intern evaluation form. Dr. Martinez must have contact with your supervisor before you begin your internship.
  3. Approximately half your hours are engaged in your primary educational project—in concert with your proposed site supervisor and specific to both their needs and your interests, you will plan a project that allows you to develop your skills in one specific area of public history. This could be museum education, exhibit design, digital history, visitor services, collections management, historical research, or some other defined area of interest, and should reflect an appropriate level of independent work and disciplinary expertise for advanced undergraduate or graduate students. In the other half of your hours, you should be getting hands-on experience in all aspects of Public History relevant to that site, from tours to visitor assistance to marketing to janitorial duties, including special events and interpretive programs. A plan for the primary educational project must be attached to your hours contract. Major deviations from that plan must be discussed with Dr. Martinez and may require the submission of a formal amended plan. For internships you have established with sites that are not current UNCP partners, a brief description of your general job duties should also be attached to your hours contract.
  4. Sample projects our partner sites have undertaken in recent years or may need future interns to undertake include:
    **Prepare a collection inventory, including photographs, descriptions, condition reports, and provenance.
    **Create a traveling history trunk and related curriculum materials for K-12 classroom use.
    **Research, design, and build a stand-alone mini-exhibit to be displayed in the museum lobby on a rotating basis.
    **Transcribe and annotate legal proceedings that describe the lives of domestic servants in an historic house museum for future use by docents and living history interpreters.Research and write a new “script” for a tour and then give that tour to museum visitors.
    **Conduct oral history interviews and transcribe and organize those interviews for future researchers and/or incorporation into an exhibit.
  5. Twice monthly you will write a brief journal entry (a paragraph to a page in length) summarizing what you have been doing and how it has enhanced your education. These entries should be posted using the form on the internship Canvas page.  
  6. Dr. Martinez will visit your site three times during the internship period (or arrange for a qualified substitute visitor) to evaluate your work and progress. These evaluations should include opportunities to see you interact with the public as well as a formal presentation of your primary project near the end of the semester. The exact nature of this formal presentation will depend on the nature of the project.
  7. Grades will be assigned on the following basis:
  • Journal Entries: 20%
  • First Two Site Visits: 10%
  • Educational Project & Presentation: 20%
  • Supervisor Evaluation: 50%