This summer, the Friends of Washington Crossing Park welcomed two interns: Jillian Miller and Lucy Buchanan.
Jillian Miller: Educating Future Historians
Jillian Miller, a student at Hatboro-Horsham High School, spent the summer organizing this year’s Colonial Days Summer Camp as part of an internship sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Washington Crossing-Yardley.
In addition to leading the camp in late August, Jillian prepared for campers’ arrival weeks in advance. They have helped with the Colonial Days Summer Camp before, but this year she took on a new role by organizing the itinerary herself. They’ve created schedules, ordered supplies, and reached out to volunteers to assist with demonstrations.
While Jillian enjoyed planning behind the scenes this summer, she also appreciated the opportunity to work with the campers as well. “My favorite part of working with kids is connecting with them through history and seeing them fall in love with history the same way I did when I was their age,” Jillian says.
They organized a number of fun, hands-on activities for the campers to teach them about the colonial era. These included a Christmas Crossing experience, allowing kids to learn what the conditions would have been like the night of the crossing through quotes and videos.
In the future, Jillian plans on studying history at Shippensburg University after graduation next year and pursuing a career as a museum educator.
“I definitely think this internship is going to help in the future because it’s giving me good, real-life experience for the job I want to have,” Jillian says. “And it’s just showing me that this is the right path. I really enjoy the work that I’m doing.”
Lucy Buchanan: Welcoming and Educating the Public
A rising junior at Connecticut College, Lucy Buchanan had the opportunity to explore museum education during her time as a park intern.
She is local to Yardley and a frequent park visitor – she attends the Christmas Day Crossing reenactment every year with her family. Her academic focus on museum studies, art history, and American government led her to Washington Crossing Historic Park.
Lucy began her internship working at the front desk of the Visitor Center, welcoming guests and answering their questions about their visit. She then collaborated with Katherine Becnel, the park’s Volunteer and Educational Programs Coordinator, on creating online resources for students and teachers. She worked on research for two programs: one on colonial butter-making and another on the George Washington cherry tree myth. Her butter-making activity is available on the park website now.
Because she’s pursuing a certificate in museum studies at college, Lucy was able to use her academic background during these projects. “I was learning about museum programming in school, and I thought it would be really interesting to continue to do that at the park,” she says. “It was kind of an extension of what I learned in my college courses but in real life.”
Lucy was also able to learn more about what it takes to run a historical site like Washington Crossing Historic Park from Jennifer Martin, executive director of the Friends of Washington Crossing Park.
“It was interesting for me to see all the work that goes behind different programs,” Lucy says. “And as someone who hopes to work in a museum one day, it was not only valuable to get that experience but also to see what is required of you in this field.”
As she returns to school, Lucy plans to pursue internship and career opportunities at museums in the future.