Harpers Ferry National Historical Park: Internship

May 2010-August 2010

Supervisor - Ranger Melinda Day

Job Description:

The intern assists in the operation of the Division of Resource Edcuation, Historic Exhibit/Living History Branch.  This work includes assistance in the management and operation of: all 19th century permanent and temporary period exhibits, staffing for modern exhibits as needed, living history special events and activities, school education programming, volunteer in the parks programs, scheduled tours, and support for plackpowder program.  During the internship, the intern will complete the following major duties:

  1. Presents and interprets the Park's history and six nationally significant themes of industrial history/arms manufacturing, John Brown's 1859 Raid, 1861-1865 Civil War military history, African American history/Storer College, natural history, and transportation, to park visitors while staffing various sites and restored buildings.
  2. Utilizes assigned historical research materials and park planning documents, Independent Service Plans, to prepare and submit a written outline in order to present an interpretive program on the park's historical themes.  Intern will interpret through a variety of interpretive media such as third person living history interpretation, guided one hour public tours, stationary presentations, demonstrations, and exhibits.  Programs are presented on site to varied audiences including specialized groups.
  3. Supports the park's blackpowder demonstration program by adhering to all safety procedures.  Familiarizes self and complies with National Park Service policies, rules, and regulations regarding black powder safety.
  4. Adheres to museum guidelines for care and handling of artifacts, and exhibit opening and closing procedures.
  5. Supports and assists in presenting specialized programs and events involving all aspects of the interpretive program.
  6. Provides assistance in research of assigned historic subject matter.  Uses research to maintain historic accuracy and integrity for special events, public tours, and exhibit operations.
  7. Maintains responsible areas in a neat and safe manner, and reports any deficiencies to immediate supervisor.


2010 Draft of Events Calendar - HaFe.pdf 2010 Draft of Events Calendar - HaFe.pdf
Size : 255.978 Kb
Type : pdf

 Harpers Ferry National Historical Park: Park Guide GS-0090-03

May 2011-August 2011

Supervisor - Ranger John King

Standard Position Description:

This position is located in a National Park Service Unit.  The primary purpose of this position is to give talks, guide people, answer questions, and provide services to visitors.  Major duties included in this position include: (1) presents limited repetitive interpretive programs including introductions to films, map talks, and static exhibit interpretation, (2) orients hikers to conditions and equipment needs, (3) staffs information counter at the visitor center serving as intial contact for visitors, (4) provides information on a variety of subjects and interprets park values for visitors with varying interests and backgrounds, and (5) performs simple roving interpretations, providing visitors with information on park related activities, services and park themes.

 Knowledge, Skills, & Abilities Gained


I know (the)...

  • history of Harpers Ferry from its beginnings to the modern day
  • social customs of nineteenth century America
  • weapons produced by the Harpers Ferry Armory
  • major park themes - industry, Civil War history, John Brown's 1859 Raid, African American history, natural history, and transportation history
  • nineteenth century domestic arts such as cooking, ice cream making, laundressing, and etc.
  • National Park Service regulations for securing, maintaining, and operating of historic eighteenth and nineteenth century weapons
  • National Park Service regulations for securing, maintaining, and operating of nineteenth century cookstove
  • National Park Service regulations for securing, maintaining, and operating of nineteenth century blacksmith forge
  • National Park Service regulations for opening and closing park exhibits


I can...

  • demonstrate firing procedures for historic flintlock, percussion, and artillery weapons
  • demonstrate operation of nineteenth century cookstove
  • demonstrate operation of nineteenth century blacksmith forge
  • demonstrate operation of nineteenth century treadle sewing machine
  • demonstrate operation of eighteenth century spinning wheel


I can...

  • conduct formal and informal interpretation to different sized groups visitors of varied backgrounds
  • speak publically with comfort and ease
  • research and develop an Interpretive Serive Plan for guided tours given to visitors
  • research, develop, and present exterior gun exhibit and domestic arts exhibit
  • train others in park history and regulations
  • observe trainees and volunteers in interpretive methods and offer critique where necessary

 Interpretive Service Plans

In the National Park Service, an Interpretive Service Plan (or ISP) is created by interpreters to plan out tours and activities.  Below I have provided first the list of tours offered by Harpers Ferry National Historical Park that I have conducted and then the ISPs I developed for each of these tours.  During my internship, I went through an intense training on how to develop a guided tour given to the public.  Training also included guidelines for starting tours, visitor comfort, group placement, seating, children on tours, techniques, using quotations, and using artifacts.  Each tour needed to contain specific features such as a safety message and transitions between stops.  The ISPs below showcase the research and preparation I took in preparing for my particular tours.


  • Harpers Ferry Place in History
  • Guns of Harpers Ferry
  • John Brown's 1859 Raid
  • Civil War 1861-1865 in Harpers Ferry
HaFe Place in History ISP.pdf HaFe Place in History ISP.pdf
Size : 3374.319 Kb
Type : pdf
Guns of HaFe ISP.pdf Guns of HaFe ISP.pdf
Size : 745.855 Kb
Type : pdf
John Brown ISP.pdf John Brown ISP.pdf
Size : 140.914 Kb
Type : pdf
Civil War ISP.pdf Civil War ISP.pdf
Size : 1816.514 Kb
Type : pdf

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