This summer Morgan Smith had the opportunity to intern at two different historical societies in northwestern Pennsylvania. Morgan speaks to her experiences at the Lawrence County and Mercer County historical societies:
At Lawrence County Historical Society, I assisted with a variety of projects. I organized many of the society’s files and records including family genealogies and cemetery books. I created databases to organize marriage licenses and Pennsylvania Engineering drawings. Furthermore, I sorted through many of the society’s objects and created searchable accession records. However, my biggest project involved converting cassette tapes into digital audio files.
The highlight of the internship was my involvement in creating the fireworks exhibit, which opened in July, and documented Lawrence County’s long tradition with pyrotechnics. I assisted in the decision making process in object selection, and was involved in mounting the exhibit. This experience taught me that anything can be done professionally if people take the time and effort to properly create it even though the Lawrence County Historical Society is strictly volunteer and operate on a limited budget they are still able to produce quality exhibits and research.
At the Mercer County Historical Society, I was involved with two main projects. One project entailed researching all of Mercer County for a Mercer County Gazetteer. This involved combing through records for the townships, boroughs, cities, historic places, post offices, cemeteries, and waterways of Mercer County.
The other project provided me with insight into the fundraising efforts of historical societies. I assisted with the society’s 3-1-1 campaign. This campaign asked for donations for the historical society where every five dollars that is donated is split: three dollars go toward repairing and replacing items in the facility, one dollar goes toward maintaining and expanding public programs, and the last dollar goes toward the society’s endowment. I learned about donor cultivation, direct marketing and community relations.