Convinced of the broad cultural value of history, faculty are looking for opportunities to diversify graduate students’ training.This year the department sponsored two new graduate student internships, one at UT’s McClung Museum of Natural and Cultural History and another with the Knoxville College Oral History Project.
Robert Rennie, doctoral candidate, was the inaugural McClung Museum Fellow. Through his internship at McClung, Robert has had the opportunity to gain experience with exhibit planning and educational outreach. Lindsey Wainwright, McClung’s coordinator of academic programs, and Robert have collaborated to help hundreds of UT students encounter historical objects from the time periods they were studying, giving them a chance to look at two-hundred-year-old artifacts up close, spread out on a table where they could be viewed from all angles, and in some cases, handled gently. Undergraduates studying the Atlantic slave trade tried to lift a ball and chain that had once been attached to someone’s ankle. Another class followed up a lecture on the Napoleonic period with a visit to McClung to look at early 19th-century illustrations of Napoleon’s expedition to Egypt.
Graduate student Lorraine Herbon is the inaugural intern working with the Knoxville College Oral History Project, an undertaking of UT’s Emerita Professor of History Cynthia Fleming. As part of Lorraine’s assignment, she is also assisting Brandon Winford, assistant professor, with one of his African-American history classes, a course where the students will be working on assignments that tie the Knoxville College project back to a broader study of black education in the US.
The department plans to expand the internship program next year, placing students with the East Tennessee Historical Society, the Knoxville History Project, and Knox Heritage.