Winternship offers lessons in history, teaching

Tyler Setterlund ’20 works for Orleans Historical Society during semester break

Internship supported by: Nancy Lyon Porter ’43 Community Service Fellowship
Student majors: History, secondary education

Tyler Setterlund OHS
Tyler Setterlund ’20 interned at the Orleans Historical Society over winter break.

Passion for the past: “I’ve always loved history, throughout high school and now into college, because of the amazing stories that you uncover and discovering how almost everything in the past can be connected to the world we live in today.”

Preparing to move: “Currently, the Orleans Historical Society (OHS) is preparing to undergo some renovations to their museum, which is housed in an 1830s former Unitarian Universalist church and meetinghouse. The main focus of my internship was to help in this process by figuring out how to pack artifacts away, identifying the significance of lesser-known pieces, and assisting in planning what will be shown in the spring exhibit once the construction work is done.”

Digital resources: “In addition to learning good packing skills (a life skill), this internship has really developed my research skills. I was introduced to the program PastPerfect, which is a common database used by museums and historical societies around the country. The database is oftentimes linked regionally to other organizations, which broadens the research potential. Learning what keywords to search for, or what pieces of information might lead me to the artifact I was looking for, was very important in identifying its historical significance.”

Featured presentations: “One of my tasks was to research a large map of Cape Cod and the Islands that dated back to 1858. It was a five-by-five-foot map that contained everything from geographic features and street names to the homes and businesses of prominent people from the entire region. The homes of sea captains and local business establishments—many of which are still found today in my town and others—gave a glimpse into the lifestyle of these towns more than 150 years ago. The OHS had me write a featured article in a local newspaper, the ​Cape Cod Chronicle​, about the map and some interesting stories about it and Orleans. Going into the store and picking up the paper and seeing an article written by me was probably my favorite moment of this internship. This map and the descriptions I wrote will be featured in the historical society’s spring exhibit.”

Lessons in teaching: “This experience definitely integrates itself well into teaching, because, as a history teacher, my future students will for sure be doing research papers and projects. By gaining this experience, I can not only develop and advance my own skills and approaches to research but can also give more thorough instruction and insight to better help students with their work. Also, in my position I am being taught and guided by historians at the OHS, while as a teacher I would be in the position of teaching and guiding my students. This role reversal is extremely important in gaining a greater perspective on the research process.”

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