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For the past two months, I’ve had the pleasure of interning at New Hampshire Humanities with Dr. Tricia Peone and her work on public programs. I’m a student at the University of New Hampshire in Manchester, where I dual major in English and history and work in the Office of Student Engagement. Having sought real-world public history experience in my senior year, I was excited when UNH Manchester Professor Kristen Woytonik connected me with Dr. Peone. At New Hampshire Humanities, I’ve been privileged to work as a program intern during the fall semester and have traveled throughout the state to attend ten Humanities to Go programs, three Community Project Grant programs, a Connections book discussion, and an Ideas on Tap event. Through lectures, walking tours, material culture, living history, music, and conversations, I’ve engaged with themes of power, race, and gender; investigated challenging issues of memory, war, and identity; and learned so much about New England history.
Working with Dr. Peone has allowed me to apply my studies in practical ways, producing reports on my observations and focusing on inclusivity, accessibility, and engagement as frameworks for evaluating public history and humanities. I’ve been able to research existing digital history and humanities content and compile resources on fellow humanities councils’ initiatives. At a simple level, one of my favorite experiences has been visiting local towns and hearing community members’ thoughts and opinions.
I believe that access to humanities and opportunities to learn are fundamental to an engaged community, and experiencing the bold and compelling programming facilitated by New Hampshire Humanities has only solidified this view. As citizens and people, we must do the work of examining our own histories, cultures, and assumptions — we can’t afford to ignore the experiences of people different from ourselves. I look forward to applying the skills and ideas I’ve learned from my time here to future work that emphasizes equity and access.
- Rachel Avery
New Hampshire Humanities programs are made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this these programs do not necessarily represent those of the NEH or New Hampshire Humanities.