Hands-on History Profile: Bethany Nyborg interns at Adirondack Experience museum

Hands-on History Profile: Bethany Nyborg interns at Adirondack Experience museum

1) Where was your internship and how did you find it?

I was a remote intern with Adirondack Experience, a large museum and historic site in the middle of the Adirondacks in upstate New York. The museum has a great website and digital collection that I had explored for one of my college courses. In 2020, I reached out to the museum inquiring if they would be interested in taking me on as a remote intern over the summer. The director had not considered the possibility of a remote internship, but after an interview the interpretation team brought me on board.

2) What were your main responsibilities on the job?

My main responsibilities were researching and creating an online video series on cooking in the early 20th-century Adirondacks, and reviewing content that other museums had produced to see what could work for Adirondack Experience. The cooking videos were my assignment, so I had to create my own work plan and figure out how to do the project from start to finish. Because the internship was remote, I did not have any responsibilities outside of my assigned project.

3) What were the most rewarding aspects of your internship?

I found working with a team rewarding. The accountability and feedback I got for my work made the end product something of which I was proud. Even though the cooking videos were my individual assignment, I relied on the experienced museum staff for advice on how to best achieve the museum’s mission through the videos. Everyone encouraged and challenged each other.

4) What was your biggest accomplishment?

Producing a two-part cooking video series was definitely my biggest accomplishment. Every step of the process refined my ideas, and the end result is entertaining and educational. It takes many big and little decisions to do historic interpretation. The little decisions are just as important as the big ones, and the cooking video series has that attention to detail.

5) What did your internship teach you about being a professional historian?

I knew intellectually the differences between college and work as a professional public historian, but the experience was valuable for showing me practically what it looks like to produce historic content while taking into consideration the museum’s specific environment and goals. Professional public historians have a lot they have to consider when interpreting history. One area we talked a lot about during the summer was representing diversity and decolonizing the museum space.

6) Did anything surprise you?

I was surprised with how included I felt during the internship despite being several states away from everyone and never having been to the museum itself. It showed me that the Internet really does provide great opportunities to reach more people and increase interest in a museum.

7) Is there anything else you would like to share about your internship experience?

Just that the Adirondack Experience is a great museum, and you should check out their awesome new video series: https://www.theadkx.org/dacks-dishes/