Sydney Stapleton ’16 is in the middle of a year of service with AmeriCorps, working with the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia, which focuses on promoting historic preservation throughout West Virginia.
Preservation Alliance has AmeriCorps members across the state, and Stapleton serves at the Harrison County West Virginia Historical Society in Clarksburg, working on cataloging the society’s objects, updating its website and social media, and helping to organize volunteer events and outreach.
Internship, Course Work, Field School – then to a Museum
Her internship with the Athens County Historical Society and Museum (now the Southeast Ohio History Center) while a student opened her eyes to a field that she really was not sure she would enjoy. That internship was when she discovered that she wanted to do museum work.
During the internship, she gained very helpful hands-on experience with objects and the museum software that is used with most small museums.
Her minor in history helped to build her research skills, which aid in researching the background of objects. And her Museum Studies Certificate taught her a lot about what to expect while working with a nonprofit museum.
With all this experience, her internship, and other archeology classes, she was able to get a temporary collection position after graduation at the New London Public Museum in New London, WI.
She worked there to identify and catalog over 1,000 Native American projectile points. She even had a small article published in the newsletter of the Wisconsin Archeological Society.
The New London Public Museum work led to her position with AmeriCorps.
Gaining Valuable Experience While Giving Back
“I love working with history and culture!” says Stapleton. “I love being able to preserve the history of Appalachia, being from the area myself. Serving with AmeriCorps is a great experience. It is nice to be able to give back to the community.
“I would recommend serving to anyone, especially soon-to-be graduates who may not know what they are doing after graduation. Along with gaining valuable experience helping communities, you can also receive an education award that can go toward paying off student loans. There are tons of different options related to different fields including history, disaster relief, and education all over the country. It’s just really nice to be able to give back.”