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Students tackle projects via summer internships

Kelsey Pratt

College students need internships.

The Warren County Historical Society has projects that need to get done.

That’s proved to be a worthy pairing since the Society started an internship program in 1999.

This summer, five college students participate in the program and “focused on an array of projects to aid in the organization’s mission of preserving Warren County’s history,” Managing Director Michelle Gray said.

Participants this year included Jillian Busby, Damon Navaroli, Kelsey Pratt, Zoey Reynolds and Karlie Blodien.

Karlie Blodien

“This year’s summer interns have exceeded expectations and worked in an efficient and productive manner to accomplish the many assigned projects,” Gray said. “The interns have been fantastic to work with and put forth their best efforts.”

Busby, a recent Anthropology graduate from Edinboro University, said her main project was documenting the Charles W. Stone Collection. Stone, a member of Congress and the state’s second lieutenant governor, was also the first president of the Historical Society.

She explained documenting the collection involves going through each box, documenting its content and implementing conservation measures if needed.

Gray said that collection includes hundreds of letters and “is approximately 50 linear feet.”

Busby and Damon Navaroli, a sophomore history major at Clarion, also helped facilitate the day-to-day operation of the Wilder Museum.

Jillian Busby

Gray said that Navaroli “expressed an interest in Allegheny National Forest history” making him “the perfect candidate to assist in a tentative partnership between the Forest Service and the Historical Society in an effort to map out potential Underground Railroad trails in the area.”

Kelsey Pratt, a communications major at Clarion, specializing in digital media, was uniquely equipped to tackle a specific project – she’s been preserving the Historical Society’s 16mm film collection.

“This particular project is one that I had hoped to complete this summer, and due to Kelsey’s steadfastness to the goal, we will be able to upload selected 16 mm films to the YouTube channel at Warren History, PA,” Gray said.

Pratt said the videos include 1960s views of the Kinzua Dam area as well as past Fourth of July parade films.

Zoey Reynolds, a junior strategic communications major at Edinboro possess “a high level of organizational skills,” Gray said, and has been updating, organizing and indexing the Society’s Newspaper Clippings collection.

Jillian Busby

“The clippings collection is a great resource of topical files and is accessed by staff and visitors on a regular basis,” Gray explained.

Gray said Karlie Blodien, a history and museum studies student at Jamestown Community College was a “prefect candidate” to work on the Society’s textile collection because she comes with three semesters as the Fenton Historical Society’s student intern.

“This is what I like to do,” Blodien said of that work, calling it “fun” to “organize textiles and (to) get to handle them” and “make it so the collection is easier to use in the future.”

“The Warren County Historical Society’s board of directors and staff greatly appreciate the many donations that have aided in funding of the summer internship program since 1999,” Gray said. “The intern program provides needed manpower that has aided in the preservation and maintenance of the thousands of artifacts, images, textiles, and documents relevant to Warren County’s history.”

Zoey Reynolds

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