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Graduate Program


Office of the City Historian Internship Opportunity

The Office of the City Historian routinely accepts both undergraduate and graduate interns to assist with day-to-day tasks and special projects within the office. Internships are unpaid, although students may receive academic credit from the University.

Interns work under the direction of the city historian, deputy city historian, and/or other professional staff. They will receive an orientation to the office and training on the skills necessary to complete the tasks which they are assigned.

After the orientation and training period, students are expected to work relatively independently on their assigned tasks, with guidance provided by office staff as needed. Students are expected to adhere to an assigned work schedule and maintain a consistent attendance record. Students’ respective universities/colleges/departments may have additional requirements.

Current Openings

The office is currently seeking interns to work on the following projects:

Rochester Voices

Rochester Voices is an interactive, mobile-friendly website that engages K–12 students, as well as the general public, in the study of local, state, national, and even global history by allowing users to explore the letters, diaries, interviews, and other personal accounts of Rochesterians who experienced the past first-hand. Rochester Voices offers direct digital access to unique historical materials from the Local History and Genealogy Division’s special collections, and those of our partners.

Interns might be interested in working on one or more of the following projects related to the Rochester Voices website:

  • Develop digital exhibits, timelines, K–12 lesson plans, and educational activities to accompany the special collections that are published on the Rochester Voices website. The focus will be on themes related to the collections, such as women’s rights, war, Rochester’s African-American and Latino communities, and labor relations. Emphasis should also be on helping K–12 students develop skills useful in studying history, such as reading and interpreting handwritten documents. Preference will be given to interns in public history, American history, and/or teaching certification programs.
  • Tag and create metadata for content on the Rochester Voices website. Preference will be given to interns in library and information studies programs.
  • Scan and prepare digital files (TIFF, JPG, PDF) and develop interpretive content to be published on the Rochester Voices website. Interpretive content will include brief descriptions of letters and other items from our special collections as well as explanatory text that situates the items in their historical contexts. Preference will be given to interns in a public history or American history program who possess strong writing skills.

Accessioning and Describing Archival Collections

The Office of the City Historian seeks an intern to accession and upload descriptive data on its archival collections into its Archives Space digital collections management system. Interns will receive basic training on archives management practices and the Archives Space software, and then will work relatively independently to enter data extracted from existing finding aids.

Preference will be given to students in library and information studies programs or public history programs.

Harold W. Lara Photo Negative Collection

The Office of the City Historian maintains a collection of more than 100,000 images captured by local photographer Harold Lara, c. 1927-1975. Most are preserved on glass plate and safety film negatives.

Interns will enter data about individual images into a comprehensive database catalog that will aid in identification and retrieval of images. Good typing skills and an attention to detail are crucial to this project. Interns may also be asked to select images for digitization and/or to scan the images for web access.

Urban Renewal Scrapbook Collection

The Local History and Genealogy Division has a collection of four scrapbooks on Rochester’s Urban Renewal program in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Interns could work either individually or as a team to scan these scrapbooks and process the collection with corresponding metadata and a descriptive finding aid. Preference will be given to students in library and information studies programs or public history or American history programs.

High Falls Center and Interpretive Museum

The High Falls Center (HFC) is a small, seasonal museum (open weekends only, March–May and September–November; six days a week in summer; closed during winter) located in the historic Brown’s Race neighborhood.

In addition to containing a permanent collection of interpretive exhibits, the HFC hosts special shows and exhibits throughout the year and serves as a hub for outdoor historical walking tours. It also functions as a visitor’s center for historical and other Rochester tourism. The center is frequently a destination for guided field trips for schools and other community organizations.

Interns would assist in daily operations, including direct interaction with visitors from diverse backgrounds and collaboration with City of Rochester and Rochester Public Library offices; exhibit planning and maintenance; public speaking as a historical tour guide.

Other Opportunities

Students with other interests are encouraged to contact the City Historian to discuss them, as we often can tailor an experience to suit individual students’ needs and desires.

How to Apply

To be considered for an internship, students need to:

  • Download, complete, and submit a City of Rochester internship application. Follow the instructions on the application.
  • Submit a cover letter and resume directly to Christine Ridarsky.
    • The cover letter should describe your interests and skills while indicating the projects that most interest you and why.
    • Also include details on the time period for which you are requesting the internship and the name and contact information for the faculty member who will be overseeing your internship experience (if it will be for credit).

Please note that students accepted into the city’s internship program will be required to consent to and undergo a criminal background check prior to beginning work.


Christine L. Ridarsky, City Historian
115 South Ave.
Rochester, NY 14604-1896
(585) 428-8095