Pennsylvania Historic Preservation

Blog of the Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Office

The Future of Preservation is …..Summer Interns at the PA SHPO

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As the summer of 2017 begins a new group of students and perhaps future preservationists have arrived at the PA State Historic Preservation Office (PA SHPO) to participate in the PHMC Keystone Summer Internship Program or the collaborative PennDOT/PA SHPO cultural resource management internship program.

Front row, from left: Clare Farrow, Austin White, London Stever. Back row, from left: Jessica Conway, Lauren Dunkle, Veronica Martin, Nick Albright.

Undergraduate and graduate students from a variety of educational backgrounds have an opportunity to learn about the workings of the State Historic Preservation Office from the inside while completing priority projects with their mentors. The focus this summer is on improving online access for both preservation professionals and the public to helpful and important historic property data collected but not fully integrated into the SHPO online system.

By summer’s end the PA SHPO hopes to have all the information gathered as part of the 2016 truss bridge updated survey and the historic structures reports mapped and recorded in the Cultural Resource Geographic Information System (CRGIS), our online integrated data mapping program. Another project will add online accessibility for historic marker files.

Interns are also analyzing archaeological report data and researching and documenting historic properties located in the Allegheny National Forest in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in Elk, Forest, McKean and Warren counties and scanning PHMC historic marker files for online viewing. All the interns also had the opportunity to participate in the 2017 Pennsylvania Conference on Heritage in Carlisle.

PHMC Keystone Program interns include Nick Albright, Lauren Dunkle and London Stever.

Nick of Camp Hill, PA is a rising senior at Ohio University, majoring in Anthropology and History, and is interested in gaining additional professional skills as part of his internship. He is working on a variety of initiatives, but focusing on the completion of a National Register nomination form for the Irvine Historic District in Warren County.

Lauren of Hershey, PA will be a senior this fall at Philadelphia University pursuing a degree in Architectural Studies with a concentration in historic preservation. As an architecture student Lauren discovered her interest in old buildings which led to both her preservation studies and our PA SHPO internship. Philadelphia has been a great setting for Lauren to gain an appreciation and understanding of historic buildings and the challenges encountered in preservation. She is researching the Twin Lakes Recreation Area in the Allegheny National Forest and preparing a historic resource survey form (HRSF) to better document and evaluate this historic property.

London, a native of Camp Hill, PA has just completed her Bachelor’s degrees in both English and History from Albright College and plans to attend the University of Pittsburgh to study Archival Science this fall. London has a special interest in ethics and advocacy in the archives field and understands the responsibility of records repositories to preserve the spectrum of resources to ensure that every group’s history can be represented. She will be spending the summer working with the PHMC historic marker program, scanning files for online sharing and fact-checking historic marker documentation. As a result of her work, London has gained a variety of unexpected historic knowledge. She was pleased to learn that the first woman elected as an associate of the Royal Astronomical Society of Great Britain was PA native Charlotte Moore and amused to discover that the banana split was invented here in Latrobe, PA.

Shared PennDOT/PA SHPO interns include Jessica Conway, Clare Farrow, Veronica Martin and Austin White.

Shared PennDOT/PA SHPO interns (from left) Austin White, Veronica Martin, Clare Farrow, and Jessica Conway.

Jessica is a native of York, PA and is currently an undergraduate at Millersville University studying anthropology with a concentration in archeology. She has participated in several historic archeological field schools in Lancaster County and is looking forward to additional hands-on opportunities to study both prehistoric and historic sites. Jessica has a background in culinary arts which could make her a popular summer staff member in an office full of food enthusiasts.

Clare of Wayne, PA is an anthropology graduate student at the University of Alabama, having received a bachelor’s degree from that college as well.   Clare has grown up in the archeology field and was exposed to her first PennDOT project at age three. Obviously, she quickly grasped the complexity and excitement of managing cultural resources in PennDOT projects, since her studies and this internship have brought her back to where she started. Clare has a special interest in prehistoric archeology.

This summer both Jessica and Clare are working to update archaeological survey data into the CRGIS system to better aid cultural resource professionals in their work. They are also analyzing archaeological reports and recorded sites to evaluate the effectiveness of the Pre-contact Period Predictive Model tool.

Veronica of Midland, Michigan is a rising senior at Western Michigan University where she will receive a bachelor’s degree in public history with minors in nonprofit leadership and business management. She has big future plans that may take her in a number of history-related fields, but she has a passionate commitment to both preservation and public education about the importance of the cultural landscape. Veronica has greatly enjoyed the opportunities to work closely with SHPO staff and gain greater understanding of the field of historic preservation from both a project and policy perspective. She has found pleasure in reading National Register of Historic Places survey forms and nominations and the insight they offer into sometimes little known, place-related history. Veronica plans to take law school exams this fall just in case her future lies in that direction.

Austin, a native of historic Windsor, Connecticut (with summer vacations to Altoona, PA) received his bachelor’s degree in History from Castleton University and is now pursuing a master’s degree in Historic Preservation at the University of Vermont. He has a special interest in the interaction of the natural and cultural environment and land management policies. This internship has given Austin a much appreciated chance to learn more about archaeology and the layers of history archeological sites reveal. Austin has been a history enthusiast as long as he can remember. His childhood visits to PA allowed him to explore the unique historic offerings of our state like Altoona’s Horseshoe Curve.

Both Veronica and Austin are spending their internship adding historic data to CRGIS about the 857 truss bridges surveyed last year. Once their efforts are complete, preservation professionals and the interested public can more easily view and gather information on historic truss bridges in Pennsylvania.

PHMC Keystone and PennDOT/SHPO interns were a huge help at the recent statewide conference in Carlisle.

Join us in welcoming these bright young minds to the PA SHPO!

Author: Pamela Reilly

Pamela Reilly is a Historic Preservation Specialist in the Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Office in Harrisburg. She holds a BA in Art and Sociology from Bucknell University and a MA in Historic Preservation from George Washington University. Pamela is an architectural historian who admits to being a bit of a pushover for buildings with a pretty facade. She also has a special interest in vernacular architecture.

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