Lehigh Drive closed from 25th Street

Lehigh Drive is closed from 25th street so everyone must approach from Glendon Hill Road or Lehigh Drive from downtown (and keep an eye on our website for flooding updates – it’s been a wet start to the month!)

Intern Highlight: Emily Jerzewski

National Canal Museum - Intern Highlight: Emily Jerzewski
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Intern Highlight: Emily Jerzewski

Written by DLNHC Staff

The National Canal Museum (NCM) is lucky to have had so many wonderful interns over the years. They’ve helped us with research, exhibitions, and museum events. For the past 10 weeks, we’ve been fortunate to have Emily Jerzewski as our Museum and Education intern. As each internship is different, we asked Emily to share her thoughts and reflect on the experiences she had while at NCM.

We know that Emily will miss our mules, Hank and George, the most, but we understand. These rascals are beloved by everyone!

Emily came to us through America 250, the United States Semiquincentennial Commission’s efforts to plan and celebrate America’s 250th Anniversary coming up quickly for 2026. Our region is calling its portion Lehigh Valley 250. She applied to several locations and was placed here. “When I first got put here, I was not sure what to expect – I had never learned too much about canals or the history of the area. After looking at the website, I realized that I was going to love this new internship.” Although this was a new experience for her, she was ready and eager to take on any task. “I never would have expected to do half the stuff I’m doing…I have loved every single moment here.”

So, what has Emily been doing? “I’ve been doing everything and anything. There were some weekends where Kassie (the Museum Operations Manager) would say, “Ok you’re the assistant manager, and I would be the person who was in charge. When the tree fell, I basically ran the museum on my own. So, stuff like opening and closing the museum, interacting with the visitors, acting as a docent, and helping in the gift shop. I also assisted the education programs by working with school groups. I made a welcome packet [that is going to be translated into multiple languages].” (The tree that Emily is referencing fell across the road in Hugh Moore Park after a bad storm. While Kassie was dealing with that, Emily operated the museum and supported our seasoned docents. Thanks to Emily, the museum was able to remain open!)

1792 Reading Howell map. One of the many, many maps Emily and Wendi looked at.

Emily worked in every aspect of the Museum & Education Department. She assisted Wendi, the Museum Collections Manager, in going through NCM’s archival catalog, PastPerfect, and updating search terms, subjects, and classification fields to be in line with The Library of Congress standards. “I’ve gone through and scanned images into PastPerfect. I’ve been reviewing objects and pamphlets, to make sure they have the right numbers and that they’re in the correct section in Past Perfect. I’ve been working with the collection one or two days a week.”

Emily’s also worked with Martha, our Historian. She researched the history of the roads and routes of the Corridor and has been instrumental in giving us a solid foundation for our future exhibition. She explored old maps and books on trails, canals, roads, and highways to create a basic history of these routes, and she developed connections with other organizations to help expand our knowledge of these routes. “I’ve been…looking up William Penn Highway, Route 78, you know 111 or any highways that I can think of [and] researching them… a lot of my time was spent answering correspondence, and also just putting in the research and finding books [and other resources].”

These are not the only projects Emily worked on, but they show the variety of experiences Emily has gained from her time at the National Canal Museum. Emily says her time here has helped her discover the “possibilities there are in a museum, what to look for in a future job, what I liked in the museum and didn’t, and just like, having a more structured idea of what I want to do when I’m older.” When asked what aspect of her internship she enjoyed the most, she says, “I think that it’s hard to pick just one because they were all were so enjoyable! I think [running the museum and having that trust to be like, ‘you’re in charge,’ was pretty awesome – to have that responsibility as an intern. This has been the best experience of my life, and I am so grateful to every single person whom I interacted with! This place will always be in my heart. ”

We have enjoyed every moment of having Emily here, too! As of today, Emily is already back at Juniata College, where she will be graduating in May 2024 with a Bachelor of Arts in Museum Studies and History with a secondary emphasis on Communications. We miss Emily, as we do with every intern, but are excited to see what happens next for her. We wish her the best of luck!

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