by Mackenzie Taylor
As a History and Public History major, I wanted to select an internship that would encompass both of these fields. Choosing to intern with the historian at the St. Francis Barracks was an excellent choice. The St. Francis Barracks, located here in St. Augustine, is the headquarters for the Florida National Guard. Alison Simpson, the Command Historian at the barracks, provided me with a list of different projects that she would like to see accomplished. Since 2017 is the centennial anniversary of the United States’ involvement in World War I, we decided to put together an exhibit that showcased the Florida National Guard abroad and at home during the war. We also chose to include items from the museum’s collection from the World War I era.
A large part of the research that I have done for the exhibit has been related to the individuals to whom the items belonged. These pieces include World War I uniforms, weaponry, and personnel papers, among other things. Although some of these items may not have anything to do with the Florida National Guard, they are still intriguing pieces that provide a glimpse into the life of a soldier. Other research that I have compiled is related to the different units of guardsmen that were from Florida who served in the war. Though the exhibit is not yet complete, Alison and I are striving to have it finished in mid-April.
The environment of working within a military base in a different one than I am used to. But a good different. If it was not for my internship, I probably would not have been able to learn so much about the military command and structure, as well as military history from primary sources (not just out of textbooks).