Jon Evans was the spring 2022 intern at the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology (INDNR-DHPA). Internship responsibilities included protecting old buildings, bridges and cemeteries and helping preserve Indiana’s mid-20th century architecture. Evans is majoring in Public History at Ball State University.
Note: This interview was published by Grace Duerksen
“What are the top 10 best parts of your internship?”
The casual environment.
The work environment at the DNR-DHPA is incredibly casual, far more than I expected. But the fact that I do not need to dress up in a suit, I can listen to music/podcasts/YouTube videos while working and I can talk very casually makes the work that much more enjoyable.
The site itself.
The DNR as a whole is located in downtown Indianapolis, a city that I have spent little time in, allowing me to experience city life for the first real time. Not to mention that I can walk to work. The DNR also has an on-site cafeteria, so I don’t need to bring food if I want.
The variable projects I could work on.
My supervisor, Jeannie Regan-Dinius, is the head of the special projects division. This will allow me to work on several different things over the course of my internship, which will definitely keep the work from getting too boring and stale.
My current project.
At the time of writing this list, my project is a retention schedule. I am going through the surveys of the counties of Indiana, starting with Adams County. I am going through all the townships to catalog each folder’s identifying information and double checking the database that the info of each individual survey of the bridge, historical building or cemetery. This allows me to learn more about the different counties of Indiana, especially since I have yet to visit many.
My supervisor and I came to an agreement that I could work from home if I were to get sick or unable to come in to work. Along with that, I work 25 hours a week, meaning that as long as I reach that number, I can work the hours I want. Currently I have been loving working 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. since it allows me to avoid the morning and evening rush hours and the lunch rush.
This goes hand in hand with the first point, as the people are usually the biggest factor in what the work environment is like. The people there are all kind and helpful, especially with me since I am an intern. There is also another intern from Ball State, Anna. However, I rarely get the chance to talk to her due to where she is in the office.
Prior to this internship, I have had practically zero office experience. I need that experience for my own personal growth and development. This internship provides me with that experience.
The city of Indianapolis.
Ok, this isn’t strictly about the DNR, but does have to with the location of it. I have zero experience living in cities, so this is an all [new] thing to me. But being able to walk to-and-from work is such a nice change of pace compared to my previous job where I drove for roughly 40 minutes to get to work. The only downside so far living in the city is the wind tunnels created by the buildings, making it much colder than it actually is. There is also public transportation in the form of solar powered scooters and the buses, making the walks even shorter.
The chance to meet new people.
Similar to the earlier point of the people in the office, [the job] provides me the opportunity to meet people. In my time at Ball State, I usually either kept to the same friend group or myself, depending on the situation. Now, in a new city and job, I can meet new people and make new connections. I hope that I can make some long-lasting connections with people here in Indianapolis and the DNR.
My life changing.
This was an opportunity that I never knew would have been given to me. This point may feel a little cheap, but this opportunity given to me by the DNR and my professor Dr. Soltz has legitimately given me an opportunity to change my life for the best. I hope that I can make the best of it.
Phillip Shreve was an intern at Mounds State Park in Anderson, Indiana for the spring and summer semester in 2022. During his internship, Shreve worked alongside the Indiana Division of Historic Preservation & Archaeology and used his Ball State Public History degree to design an exhibit based on how the land at Mounds may have looked during the 1820’s.
Note: This interview was published by Grace Duerksen
“What are the top 10 most enjoyable/interesting aspects of your internship?
The Great Mound
The Great Mound would have originally been 20 feet higher and the Natives cut down all the trees within a certain radius of the Great Mound to make it more visible and to fertilize the ground.
The Adena built these Mounds and both the Adena and the Hopewell used them in the early 200s and 300s.
The Bronnenbergs were the white Quakers who helped preserve the Mounds for future generations.
The park is at least 84% self-funded, through donations, admission fees, campground fees, and rental fees for picnic shelters.
I will take away collections management skills since I am conducting inventory, organization skills because I need to keep track of the form for each object, cataloguing skills, because I am documenting these in a binder, and research skills, because I might need more information on the origin of some objects.
I will be designing a display case on what the land looked like in the 1820s, when the Bronnenberg family first moved here.
Working with professionals
I work for Kelley Morgan, who is the Interpretive Naturalist at Mounds State Park.
School groups, the Friends of Mounds State Park, and several environmentalists come to Mounds State Park, since Kelley is the only full-time Interpretive Naturalist in the area.
On a daily basis, I see mostly Kelley, and the Mounds State Park Manager and Assistant Park Manager, and a few occasional visitors, mostly for special events.
Mounds State Park is the second biggest and second most visited tourist attraction in Madison County, right behind the casino.
For more information visit The College of Science & Humanities website.