Big Horn County News October 6, 2005

Students complete Custer museum internships

    Three graduate students just completed summer internships with the Custer Battlefield Museum at Garryowen.

     For the past four years the museum has offered a docent - tourist guide internship for college graduate students.  Open to all students with bachelors' or masters' degrees in history anthropology or related fields, the internship provides hands-on learning experience during the peak of the tourism season, May -September.

     The docents this year were Lauren Grissom, Bachelor of Specialized Studies, Ohio; Laura Wurdeman, M.A. Art History, London, England, B.A., psychology, Greeley, Colo.; and Eric Aldrich, M.A., history, B.A. English and history, University of Colorado.

     Docent interns are involved in a host of different activities, including assisting the museum director, museum admissions answering museum related questions, providing directions, coordinating and setting up exhibits, and educating tourists in all aspects of the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

Museum Director Chris Kortlander began the program as a way to help history and anthropology students augment their studies as well as to offer visitors to the historic site with additional sources of information about the famous battle, and the town of Garryowen and environs.


Chris Kortlander, director of the Custer Battlefield Museum, stands with interns (left to right)
Lauren Grissom, Laura Wurdeman and Eric Aldrich.

     Although the internship is an unpaid full-time position, benefits include room and board, and a small living stipend.  Students studying for their master's degree also can receive college credit.

     This program has been a great success," said Kortlander. "Our docents are enthusiastic and hard working, and to a one, they report that the experience has given them a completely different perspective and understanding of Native American life, both past and present, that cannot be found in books.

     "We've created very comfortable living spaces for our interns, and include them in off-property events such as the Crow Fair and the annual re-enactment of the Little Bighorn Battle."

     The three interns said that they will never forget their experience and their way of country life at the Custer Battlefield Museum.