The Blue & Gray Press

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Preservationists at work: experiencing local history internships

3 min read

One historic preservation major had the opportunity to complete their internship at the Mary Washington House. (


Staff Writer

Many college students spend a lot of time wondering what they are going to do once they graduate. One way students can get ahead and learn more about their field is through internships. Historic preservation is a relatively unique field at UMW that not offered as a major at many other 4-year institutions. The history of the Fredericksburg area offers many opportunities for students in the historic preservation department to gain job skills in the field.

Brianna Melick, Junior

Brianna Melick is a historic preservation, religion and classics major with a minor in museum studies. She also interns as a Historical Interpreter at the Mary Washington House, a position she found via Facebook before her sophomore year. Her favorite parts of her job are “getting to talk to people who are genuinely interested in learning about Mary” and wearing colonial period clothing. She said, “I would absolutely recommend both internships and employment while in school. It gets you the best experience and it shows you what having a job will be like in the future. You also make amazing connections with future employers.”

Cody Youngblood, Junior

Cody Youngblood, a historic preservation major and museum studies minor, is an intern at the James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library through the Albert J. Bowley Scholarship. He has great feelings about what this internship is doing for him.

“Working at the Monroe Museum has provided me an exciting opportunity to better understand the inner-workings of a museum by assisting in collections management, exhibit creation, educational programming and more,” he said. He found out about the internship when his advisor, Christina Turdean, recommended that he apply for the Bowley Scholarship. His favorite part of the internship is, “the opportunity to work with one of the greatest collections of Monroe objects in the United States. Being able to sit in the archive room and look over to see Monroe’s suit he wore to the coronation of Napoleon is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I’m thrilled I get to experience it.” Cody’s one piece of advice for students considering internships is, “you can never have too much experience.”

Lauren Simpson, Junior

Lauren Simpson, a historic preservation major and museum studies minor, is currently interning at Moore Archives and Preservation, a book and page restoration business owned by University of Mary Washington alum, Kristi Moore, class of 2015. Simpson found the internship through word-of-mouth. “I found out about it through a woman at my church who said her daughter-in-law had a book restoration business in Fredericksburg and was a UMW historic preservation major. She had been looking for another student who was a historic preservation major at UMW to intern for her,” she said. She enjoys learning the various bookbinding and page restoration techniques and likes how there is something new to work on each day. Simpson also thinks highly of the experience that can be gained from an internship. “I would definitely recommend students do internships while in school because it is an opportunity to see how the work is presented in the outside world that you have learned throughout your classes,” she said.

Lauren Simpson, Brianna Melick, and Cody Youngblood are three historic preservation majors who have had positive internship experiences in the field. (Emilia Michalkiewicz | The Blue & Gray Press)

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