The Byrd CLS has a long tradition of providing students and volunteers with the opportunity to work with the Center’s collections, gaining valuable hands-on experience in the archives field. Though most of our interns come from the campus of Shepherd University, we have recently expanded the program to include students from universities across the country.
Below, some of our interns have summarized their experiences at the Byrd CLS:
I was an intern for the Byrd Center in January 2011. Most of my job was to organize and start creating a container list for the papers of Scot Faulkner (Chief Administrative Officer for the U.S. House of Representatives during the early 1990s). A lot of Senator Byrd’s papers had also arrived pretty recently, so I learned a lot about how documents are accessioned and incorporated into an archive’s collections. I really enjoyed interning at the Byrd CLS because of both the materials and the people I got to work with! -Sarah, Oberlin College
While completing my undergraduate degree at Shepherd University, I began to consider attending Graduate school. I was interested in the library and archival field, but I wanted to gain real world experience before committing to a Graduate program. I completed an internship at the Byrd Center archives during my senior year. Working in the archives allowed me to get hands on experience in a working archive and confirmed my interest in the field. My experience as an intern also gave me an edge in my Graduate courses. The projects I completed as an intern directly related to my Graduate classes and gave me a deeper understanding of the coursework. Anyone considering a career in archives, public history, or libraries would greatly benefit from the experience gained during an internship. -Lilly, Shepherd University Alum
Participating in this internship has been the most beneficial aspect of my college experience. Unlike classes and coursework where the assigned tasks do not often go beyond achieving a grade, the work that is done at the Byrd Center for Legislative Studies will not only allow future generations to become informed on the actions of congress, but also the legacy of Senator Robert C. Byrd, the United States’ longest-serving congressmen. While the job can be challenging, the knowledge gained from archival experience has been very valuable to me. Before working here, I had never given archival work as a career much thought, but am now hoping to stay in the field after graduating. Students who intern at the Byrd Center stand to gain knowledge of how to organize, catalog, and maintain a historical collections, as well as have the opportunity to interact with researchers. The knowledge gained through this internship will prove very valuable to any student of history or preservation, providing experience into how to best preserve our history’s artifacts and documents. -Jody, Shepherd University
During my time at the CLS I have acquired a number of useful skills including the organization and preservation treatments for documents, and the processing of electronic records. While I have been here I have taken on projects and developed the skills required to: box textual documents, scan newspaper clippings and photographs (as well as trying to find the provenance of photos), and I also developed the organizational schema and then archived the files of Joan Drummond (a Byrd staffer). Working here provides one with real-world experience in a job and lets one apply what they have learned in class to the actual job. All of the staff at CLS are supremely nice. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here and believe that I have not only been able to apply knowledge and gain experience, but have also been able to network and really come to understand what an archive is, and learned how to research in an archives. -Heidi, Shepherd University Alum
I began my internship at the Center for Legislative Studies shortly after the entirety of Senator Byrd’s Congressional papers and effects had arrived on site, so there was certainly ample work – and thus ample opportunity for experience – to take part in. Interning at the Center was easily the most edifying experience of my undergraduate career. Working under the highly capable professionals at the Byrd Center provided me with an indispensable opportunity to gain valuable, hands-on skills within my field of study and in many ways reaffirmed my love for history. Moreover, it instilled in me a healthy appreciation and respect for not only the process of archiving, but also the overall ethos behind archival and preservation efforts. Whether I was learning to operate within an archivist’s schema, organizing different materials into appropriate archival containers, or gaining proficiency with PastPerfect Museum Software, all of my experiences at the CLS left me with a great comprehension of archival work. Even more important, the people there are fantastic and the facility itself is beautiful. -Matt Starling, Shepherd University