What Do History Majors Do?
Students majoring in history at Hartwick have numerous opportunities to explore their interests through internships, semesters abroad, mentoring, and other activities. Some have worked closely with local historical societies in Oneonta to develop displays on women's history in nineteenth-century New York. Others have worked on the preservation of baseball memorabilia (including Babe Ruth's baseball bat) at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in nearby Cooperstown. Several of them present their original research at Hartwick College's Student Showcase.
Photo: History major Rachael Morrissey ('06) learned about the use and preservation of museum artifacts through an internship at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in summer 2004.
Hartwick College's P. Cooper Archives in the Stevens-German Library also provide rich opportunities for internship and discovery. In spring 2008, history major Jessica Henson ('10) interned at the P. Cooper Archives and researched women's lives at Hartwick College during WWII, with heavy emphasis on the Cadet Nursing Program and the establishment of a permanent Nursing Program at Hartwick. From her research in the archives, she compiled an exhibit about the Cadet Nursing Program for display in the Stevens German Library. Jessica also interned at Sainte Marie Among the Iroquois Museum as a tour guide and intern from 2005-2007, where she wrote and helped revise exhibits throughout the museum and even served as project manager for the exhibit, 'Winds of Change'. From Jessica's experience, it is clear that Hartwick history majors can explore vast and rich opportunities through internships.
Many history majors also take advantage of the wealth of off-campus learning opportunities available at Hartwick. In January 2014, six history majors visited the Somme battlefields, the D-Day beaches in Normandy, and key sites from the French Wars of Religion during the Reformation to study communities and warfare in the shaping of modern France. Others have spent a semester studying early modern English and Welsh history in Wales, Italian history and language in Florence, Italy, or archaeology and global history in Vienna, Austria. Hartwick history majors have also been awarded Duffy Scholarships to study the British Expeditionary Force and the Second World War at the Imperial War Museum in England or to do photography in New Zealand.
Through their internships and overseas learning experiences, history majors often develop insights into historical themes and issues that become the basis of their senior thesis. In recent years, history majors have drawn upon interests in South Africa that emerged during a January term program and crafted senior research projects centered around the historical construction of ideas about "race" or British-Afrikaner relations prior to the Boer War. Others have drawn upon summer programs of study in Eastern Europe to enhance their understanding of the role played by commemorative sites in the historical memory of the Holocaust. In these and many other ways, history majors at Hartwick make connections between their own inquiries as historians and the society in which they live, both local and global.
For further information on the History program at Hartwick College, contact Professor Cherilyn Lacy, Chair of the History Department, at firstname.lastname@example.org.