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Interns vital part of Deadwood's history preservation

By Jaci Conrad Pearson

DEADWOOD — How many interns can say they’ve witnessed a simultaneous Native American/Dao master remains internment ceremony or been instrumental in cataloging one quarter of a million artifacts from the Chinatown excavation?

There are actually two young people in Deadwood with this sort of claim to fame. Chase Job and Matt Hodson are working as interns for the Historic Preservation office, and both say their experiences have been, well, sort of on the historic side.

Job, in his second year of summer employment with the Historic Preservation Office, graduated from Lead-Deadwood High School in May and plans to attend the University of Mary at Bismarck, majoring in respiratory therapy.

Hodson, a Spearfish High School graduate, will be a junior at Madison at Dakota State University next year and is majoring in computer science. This is his fifth year as part of the Historic Preservation Internship Program.

Deadwood Historic Preservation Officer Kevin Kuchenbecker said his office has been using collections interns to assist in accessioning the variety of city-owned collections for several years.

“Through this program we provide high school and/or college students a real ‘hands on’ experience working in an archives and collections repository,” Kuchenbecker said. “Several of our interns have entered fields associated with history, which is exciting for me as the Historic Preservation Offi cer. In fact, an internship program with a local Main Street program is where I found my calling for historic preservation, downtown revitalization and heritage tourism.”

While Job’s studies may take him far from the archives and annals in the basement of Deadwood City Hall, Job said the job has given him invaluable experience, as well as a more intimate knowledge of Deadwood’s history.

“Dealing with people and people skills,” Job said. “We deal with a lot of different people. And organization is definitely one of the biggest skills we learn. We also help put together exhibits and display stuff, so we’ve learned how to make high quality exhibits. I’ve written paragraphs for the exhibits and helped with the Century Awards.”