by Sam Kearney
When you sign up for an internship, you would imagine you might be doing menial work, and generally being a helping hand around an office space or a museum. But taking an internship at a national park where the rangers take part in living history, and re-enact as Spanish colonial soldiers is something you would never expect. The Castillo de San Marcos National Monument in St. Augustine, Florida is the oldest masonry fortress in the continental United States, and this has made my time there unique.
I have had experiences that not many students taking internships will ever experience. For starters, I spend two days of my week dressed out as a Spanish soldier from the 1740s, wearing an estimated twenty pounds of wool and linen carrying an eleven-pound musket along with a bayonet. On weekends at the Castillo, the park rangers and local volunteers do cannon firings. A crew of five Spanish “soldatos” do a complete re-enactment of a cannon drill, even giving commands in the Castilian Spanish language. Having been on the cannon firing crew at least once is an experience of a lifetime. Will it be of any practical experience to my life in the future? Probably not, but it will certainly be a bragging right amongst colleagues in my future workplace.
However, part of my internship is to create a program that will be used by the Castillo in the years to come, and the program I am building is focused around the British occupation of St. Augustine from 1763 to 1784. For this program I will dress as a British red coat of the 60th regiment of Royal Americans who occupied the Castillo and St. Augustine. For my program, I will possibly do a combination of the British uniform, the British in the Castillo, and Florida during the American Revolution. This is all just theory and concept for now, and will start to be fleshed out in the coming weeks. There is a lot I will be doing the next few weeks, from giving programs about the uniform of a Spanish soldier, to being on the firing crew of a six-pound iron cannon. There is much I have yet to do during this internship, and I look forward to all the experiences I will gain in this internship. Who would have thought an internship could be so much fun?