Stepping into Local History
Bobby Grygiel ’23 stepped back into history every day at his summer internship. Working for the Saratoga History Museum in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., he learned about his area’s local history while gaining experience with professional historical research.
A history major, Grygiel applied for the internship because he wanted to learn more about careers in research and about the Saratoga area. Having helped organize informational materials for the museum’s social media, written labels for artifacts, and completed a research project on the Walworth family, who founded the museum, Grygiel ultimately felt he successfully experienced the breadth and depth of the job.
“I wanted some hands-on experience for doing research, and I’ve definitely gotten a lot of that,” he said.
Hometown: Ballston Lake, N.Y.
High School: Niskayuna High School
In addition to learning the ins and outs of running a small museum, he appreciated becoming more involved in his community. Describing the Saratoga History Museum, Grygiel said, “It’s just a couple people working at their local museum because they really enjoy it and like history, and they like contributing to a part of their history. It feels good to contribute to part of the community.”
Through his research project, he learned about the museum’s own history as the Canfield Casino, the murder and incest that plagued the Walworth family, and a bit about the springs that inspired the town’s name.
The ongoing pandemic has financially harmed museums and they could particularly use support now, Grygiel said. “I think one-third of museums are projected to close permanently because of [the pandemic] because we’re losing so much [in] funds,” he said
Grygiel’s internship has led him to consider his future career path while teaching him about the streets, buildings, and towns he encounters every day, and he recommends that other people seek to learn as he has. There’s sure to be interesting tidbits of information to discover.