Exploring Maine’s history

MacKenzie ‘Mack’ Jones ’20 gains insight, experience with internships at historical sites

Hometown: South Portland, Maine
Majors: History, secondary education
Victoria Mansion (Portland, Maine)
Funding source: Porter Cleveland Fund

Learning from the past: “I think we can learn everything about humanity today through looking at our past. Social change and conflict resolution have always been at the core of everything that I do, and I really hope to educate myself in the history behind the struggles we face as humans today. I chose education because I love working with children and think that the best way to change anything is through education.”

Recognizing opportunity: “I spent summer 2018 at the Maine Historical Society in Portland, Maine, where I gave tours of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s boyhood home, researched and created educational curriculum surrounding Maine’s bicentennial, and oversaw a multitude of historical education camps for middle schoolers. Through one of the camps, Maine Historical Society connected me with the Victoria Mansion, another historical home in Portland.”

History over the holidays: I was a docent during the Christmas season, which meant I gave tours of the house and answered questions. I had to research and be familiar with the house and it history. I also was given the responsibility of organizing and filing the mansion’s large collection of historical books and papers. These were collections that existed since the 1940s and consist of many gifts from members and docents over the years.”

Preservation in action: “This internship really opened my eyes up to the power that conservation and archival work has in regards to preserving history. The Victoria Mansion is a certified historical landmark and has received grants to restore the home to its former glory. The results have been extraordinary! When I spent time at the mansion this summer during the camps, we watched the restoration of the reception room in progress, and coming back for the winter I could see the final state, which was amazing. It allowed me to explore new avenues of the history profession and what I could potentially do after college with my history degree.”

Personal growth: “I honestly believe that my two and half years at Wheaton in small classroom settings that encourage discussion has improved my communication skills exponentially. I remember my first time visiting Wheaton and talking with students—I was in awe of their passions and the professional way each student held themselves. I remember telling my mom that I hoped to one day be just as passionate and articulate. Without even really noticing, I have become that type of person who can have intellectual conversations.”

Exploring options: “I hope to pursue museum education after college or maybe have my own classroom one day or write my own historical work. Working with someone whose job it is to create educational programming for the Victoria Mansion has given me more insight into what that position would entail. It also has provided me with deeper connections with the Maine historical community and has given me more insight into archival work and other options within the realm of public history and museum studies.”

Mack is the upcoming president of SAFE Haus (the LGBTQ-friendly theme house on campus), vice president of the Sexual Health Advocacy Group (SHAG), a sophomore peer mentor, a classroom assistant at Elisabeth Amen Nursery School and a Lyons Den barista.

>> See more winter internships