Maggie is the Education & Public Program Coordinator at Hale Farm & Village Historical Society.
Why did you choose to major in history?
I chose to major in history because I have always been fascinated with history. From Ancient Greece and Rome to the Suffragette movement of the early 1900s, I've always loved hearing the stories of the people that came before me. When it came time to think about my future and what I wanted to do for a living, I knew I would follow this passion. I couldn't see myself doing a job every day that I wouldn't enjoy or be passionate about, so majoring in history was the perfect path for me.
In your current job, what are your day-to-day tasks?
I am mostly responsible for booking school tours to come through the museum, as well as helping out with educational and public programming. I also help with creating content for tours, both for the general public and school groups. I work with both staff and volunteer tour guides to ensure that every person who walks into the museum gets the best, most educational, and enjoyable experience they can.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I love that I get to work in the field that I have wanted to my whole life, not everyone can say that. Being surrounded by history and people who are passionate about what they do every day is a dream. I also love giving tours to, and working with, school groups. I love to tell interesting or quirky stories about our history and see the looks on the kids’ faces when they think it is gross or hilarious or fascinating. Getting to see when things start to click for students is so worthwhile.
In what ways did Heidelberg prepare you for your career?
Heidelberg was so beneficial in preparing me for this field. The classes I took really helped me with this career because I got a really well-rounded education. A big part of what makes Heidelberg special is all the support you get. I never once heard from my professors that I couldn't do what I wanted. I knew they believed in me and would help me to the best of their ability.
What in-class and out-of-class opportunities did you find the most valuable?
Having to take a variety of different courses in history from Ancient times to modern history was really valuable because it gave me a wealth of knowledge that makes me more desirable in this field. I feel like I can work at any history or art museum no matter what the focus is because I have enough knowledge of a variety of different topics to make me feel comfortable in those settings. Outside of class, my internships really helped me learn more about museums and what it is like to work in this field. Internships when going into museum work are imperative, and Heidelberg was fully supportive of these opportunities for me.
Was there a professor or mentor who you really connected with and in what ways?
Dr. DeMayo was massively important to me at Heidelberg and was definitely a mentor of mine. When I visited Heidelberg for the first time I got to sit in on one of her classes and meet with her afterwards. I was so enthralled by the enthusiasm she showed in her teaching that I knew Heidelberg would be a good fit for me. She pushes her students to be their absolute best and her support extends beyond the classroom. She still stays in touch with potential job opportunities and just to see how things are going. I also connected well with Dr. Janet Rozick. She really helped me with my studies and internships with public history. Being a museum professional herself and professor, she had her foot in both worlds and I always went to her for advice.
What is your advice for students interested in history at Heidelberg?
Go for it! It is such a rewarding program with the best possible professors. The professors in the history department really take the time to get to know their students and are truly invested in their futures. The skills you pick up when you study history are so important when you graduate and start your career. Critical thinking is imperative to your success both in and out of the classroom, and that skill is learned through looking at and learning about history through a historian’s lens. Studying history is studying the why and how we got to where we are today.