Connecticut College students put a lot of work into maintaining and improving our on-campus community and culture. But what about our local community? The Office of Community Partnerships connects students to volunteer opportunities with local businesses in New London and the surrounding area. I visited the office looking for more ways to get involved in the local community. I explained my interest in history and was introduced to the New London County Historical Society. The historical society headquarters is in downtown New London in a colonial-era house once owned by Nathaniel Shaw Perkins. It houses documents and records from all of New London County. Working there is a great way to learn more about the city and its history. New London was a large whaling port for many years and many captains made their money here.
At NLCHS, I am able to come in when I am available during their operating hours. The Community Partnerships Office offers rides for students volunteering in the area so I can travel to work without needing a car. I am interested in working for museums or libraries after graduation, so this opportunity to work with the historical society has been a great way to gain some experience while I am still in school. I have gained experience in research and genealogy, for example. NLCHS has records from New London County going back to colonial times. We often work with people who are trying to learn more about their own family history.
I decided I would work on going through the Historical Society’s archives, making sure that their records are up-to-date. I have also been able to do some work writing up highlights about their library that people can use to do research. NLCHS has been very flexible with me and allowed me to explore my interests in museums. Through this opportunity, I have also been able to examine what I have learned in the classroom and apply it to a professional setting that I would not be able to do through a class.