Young & Teen Interpreters

Started in 1993, the Young Interpreter Program is a highly competitive apprenticeship program, in which young people work side-by-side with museum staff members to learn about America’s past, develop skills, and share their newfound knowledge with museum visitors.

The Young Interpreter program is reserved for 10 hard-working, self-motivated boys and girls who are between the ages of 12 and 14 as of May 1st. Boys and girls must be available for the summer.

The program takes place at The Farmers’ Museum, a living history museum established in 1943 with the mission of presenting the objects and practices common to ordinary people of rural 19th century New York State. Young Interpreters will have the opportunity to work with the museum’s talented craftspeople in various selected sites including: Peleg Field’s Blacksmith Shop, Bump Tavern, Lippitt Farmhouse, Middlefield Printing Office, Filer’s Corners Schoolhouse, Lippitt Farmstead and Children’s Barnyard, Spinning and Weaving shop, and Dr. Thrall’s Pharmacy.

Young Interpreters will be expected to work one day a week for a period of eight weeks, starting the last week in June and ending the last week in August.

The Teen Interpreter Program is an educational program that will introduce students between the ages of 14 and 17 to museum interpretation. This program is designed to give students interested in 19th-century American history, museums or teaching, an opportunity to work with museum professionals in a hands-on immersion environment at The Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown, New York. Students will develop many foundation skills that will be useful in college and in their future careers. They will develop public engagement skills through interpretive programs they will present to the museums visitors. Other skills that they will develop will be self-management by carrying out assigned activities in a timely and organized manner; interpersonal skills through working with a diverse group of individuals in an organization; thinking skills by applying new knowledge in different interpretive programs and activities.

Participation in the Young Interpreter Program is a prerequisite for the Teen Interpreter Program.

Goals/Objectives:

  • Build relationships with a teenage audience that will support our mission and bring in new energy, ideas, and perspectives.
  • Obtain assistance with our visitor programming, while building teenage interest in history, art, and museum careers.
  • Create a team of hard working and motivated teenagers, and provide them with chances to build their confidence, communication skills, work experience, and resumes.
  • Foster a fun working environment, where teenagers interact with and learn from adults and peers throughout the museum.

Qualifications/Skills:

  • Interested in history  and desire to learn
  • Outgoing , creative, and flexible
  • Ability to work as a team with staff and fellow teen docents
  • Ability to communicate with museum visitors
  • Excellent behavior and hard working
  • Transportation to and from the museum

Job Responsibilities:

  • Work Dates/Times: Minimum of 1 day per week in July & August; Total 16 days per year. Weekends and Special Events are not excluded
  • Will participate in programming; speaking with the public
  • Required days will be few; scheduled days worked around the Teen Interpreter’s availability
  • Will wear historic clothing where appropriate
  • Conduct hands-on activities; be creative
  • Help with younger children
  • Bring a youth’s perspective to the visitor experience
  • Behavioral Expectations: Hard work & excellent behavior

Position Areas/Activities: 

  • Agricultural Programs: Gardens, Lippitt Farmstead, Children’s Barnyard
  • Historic Entertainment: Games, Music
  • Domestic Skills: Spinning, Weaving, Dying, Sewing, Open-Hearth Cooking, Dairying
  • Trades: Broom Making, Blacksmithing, Printing, Weaving
  • Businesses: Pharmacy, Bump Tavern

Rewards:

  • Have fun with history
  • Learn about history
  • Build your college resume
  • Learn life skills such as public speaking, people skills, customer service skills
  • Earn community service hours
  • Receive training and volunteer job experience
  • Build your reference pool
  • Please submit a one- to two-page letter expressing your interest and reasons for wanting to be a Young Interpreter.
  • Indicate which site you would like to work at and why.
  • Letters must be neatly written or typed and include the date, applicant’s name, applicant’s age including date of birth, address, parents’ home or cell phone, and parents’ email address.
  • Send your letter to Young Interpreter Program, The Farmers’ Museum, PO Box 30, Cooperstown, NY 13326.
  • Letters of interest must be received by May 1. Candidates will be notified of acceptance by mid-June.
  • Letters of reference are not necessary.
  • Candidates will be asked for an interview.
  • Young people will be chosen based on their commitment, interest, maturity, willingness to learn, and ease with the public.
  • Applicants must have their parent’s permission and transportation to the museum.

If you have questions, contact Barbara Luhmann at b.luhmann@farmersmuseum.org or (607) 547-1461.