University of Rochester

Internship Opportunity

Office of the City Historian, Rochester, NY

The Office of the City Historian routinely accepts college interns from both the undergraduate and graduate levels to assist with day-to-day tasks and special projects within the office. Internships are unpaid, although students may receive academic credit from their educational institutions. Interns will work under the direction of the City Historian, Deputy City Historian, and/or other professional staff. They will receive an orientation to the office and training on the skills necessary to complete the tasks to which they are assigned. After the orientation and training period, students will be expected to work relatively independently on their assigned tasks, with guidance provided by office staff as needed. Students will be expected to adhere to an assigned work schedule and maintain a consistent attendance record. Students’ respective colleges/departments may have additional requirements.

The office is currently seeking interns to work on the following projects:

  • Transcribe handwritten letters written and received by Kate Gleason, a 19th and early 20th-century female engineer and entrepreneur. Her letters cover a period of time when Gleason was the first female engineering student at Cornell University and a saleswoman for the Gleason Works, a company founded in Rochester by her father. Careful attention to detail, proofreading skills, and an ability to read 19th-century handwriting are required for this position.
  • Develop K-12 curriculum, lesson plans, and activities to accompany a new digital exhibit and app. The focus will be on themes related to the life of Kate Gleason, such as women’s rights and labor relations, as well as on developing skills useful in studying history, such as reading and interpreting handwritten documents. Preference will be given to students in teaching certification programs.
  • Catalogue and accession a collection of artifacts from Mayor Thomas P. Ryan’s tenure as Rochester Mayor. Research Ryan’s role in the city’s history and place his service in the broader context of NYS and U.S. history and government modernization, particularly the trend away from the city management form of government to the strong mayor model. The end product for this project will be an exhibit for the entrance hall in the City’s Ryan Community Center.
  • Catalogue, accession, organize, and physically relocate the Harold Lara collection of glass plate and safety film photographic negatives from the early to mid-20th century. Research the photographer. End products for this project will be a detailed finding aid and/or a 6,000-7,000-word article for the Rochester History journal on the history of the photographer and the collection.
  • Identify historic photographs and research and write corresponding 300-500 word articles and 2-minute audio narrations on historic buildings and sites for the Democrat & Chronicle’s weekly “Retrofitting Rochester” column. Candidates for this project must be willing and able to meet deadlines. The student will be credited in the D&C’s print and online editions for their work, and their photograph will appear alongside the online edition.
  • Conduct oral history interviews with Vietnam War veterans as part of the Rochester-Monroe County Vietnam Veteran’s Oral History Project. Students will be required to schedule interviews with veterans who have applied to participate, manage documentation paperwork, and operate and troubleshoot digital audio and video recorders and camera. Interviewers will need to submit typed summaries of each interview. Students must commit to completing a minimum of three interviews to be selected for this opportunity.
  • Rehousing and creating a finding aid for a collection of manuscript/archival material consisting of handwritten notes former City Historian Blake McKelvey’s made and used in preparation of his multivolume history of Rochester. This involves transferring contents to acid-free file folders and boxes and assigning subject terms for each box. The final product will be a detailed finding aid and catalog record.

Students with other interests are encourage to contact the City Historian to discuss them, as we often can tailor an experience to suit individual students’ needs and desires.

For more information, contact:

Christine L. Ridarsky, City Historian
115 South Avenue
Rochester, NY 14604-1896
(585) 428-8095

Applications can be emailed or mailed and should include:

  1. A cover letter describing your interests and skills and indicating the projects that most interest you and why. Also include details on the time period for which you are requesting the internship and the name and contact information for the faculty member who will be overseeing your internship experience (if it will be for credit).
  2. A resume.