In this profile of a student in the Department of History and Art History, Professor Suzanne Smith interviews Carrie Smith about her internship at Gadsby's Tavern Museum in Old Town Alexandria. For more information about the internships available to majors in the Department of History and Art History, see this page, or e-mail Professor Smith.
Where was your internship and how did you find it?
I completed my internship at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. I found this internship through my previous internship from the fall.
What were your main responsibilities on the job?
My main responsibilities while I was working with the Gadsby Tavern’s team was reporting directly to the director and planning and researching the events that we were hosting at the museum. I would research the types of food would have been served during certain events and during certain times of the year. I was also in charge of the annual Rum Punch Challenge silent auction that is used as a fundraiser for the education programs and research for the museum.
What were the most rewarding aspects of your internship?
The most rewarding aspects of my internship is researching the proper meals and at the event getting complements from the guests about how much they love the food and appreciate the historic accuracy.
What was your biggest accomplishment?
My biggest accomplishment was the Rum Punch Challenge silent auction. From the time I started my internship in January I started connecting with local businesses and explained what the silent auction was for and what the proceeds from auction were going towards. Once the donated items came in I would decide which items should be paired together to appeal to most of the guests. This year was a huge accomplishment for the silent auction because this was the first year that we had a bid on all items in the auction. We also raised more money than we had in ten years.
What did your internship teach you about being a professional historian? Did anything surprise you?
My internship taught me about making sure that your events are historically accurate. I also learned that the museum community is small and that if you have a good report with other historians then they are willing to help you with research and even volunteer to help you with your events.
Is there anything else you would like to share about your internship experience?
My internship was the best experience. I knew that getting my internship was a great opportunity and I loved working with them, but I did not realize how respected Gadsby’s Tavern Museum was in the historian community until I went to the Virginia Association Museum Conference in Williamsburg. Because of the direction I received from the Director of the museum and the Deputy Director of the City of Alexandria Museums I was able to make contacts that were able to help me network and find the job that I will be starting after graduation.
July 11, 2016