Prouse joins Traer Museum as summer intern, expanding open hours

Traer Historical Museum summer intern Tristen Prouse of Buckingham stands behind the museum’s front desk on Wednesday, June 1, in downtown Traer. Prouse’s 12-week internship was made possible through a Silos and Smokestacks federal grant. –Photo by Ruby F. Bodeker

The doors to the Traer Historical Museum will be open a lot more consistently this summer following the hiring of museum intern Tristen Prouse.

Prouse – a Buckingham native and Union High School 2021 graduate majoring in Economics at the University of Northern Iowa – joined the museum staff through a Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Association (SSNHA) Internship Program Award grant the museum received this past spring.

The grant provides up to 75 percent of the wage of a college summer intern for a designated National Heritage Area in an effort to help expand the site’s agricultural heritage story while also providing valuable experience for the student.

“Tristen is the first intern ever [for the museum],” Sharon Stoakes, museum board member and Accessions Director, told the Telegraph. “I love it. We are open more hours now. It helps us to get more volunteers back here.”

For Prouse – who spent many a family trip visiting museums across the United States as a child – the internship is a perfect fit.

Tristen Prouse pictured outside Traer Historical Museum, a Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage site. -Photo by Ruby F. Bodeker

“You never who’s going to walk through the door. And what story they’re going to tell,” Prouse said when asked to describe her favorite part so far of the internship. “People see their parents in the photos [at the museum]. The museum brings the community closer together in a shared common history.”

Spearheaded by board member Carol Boyce, the grant was written for assistance in creating at least three video cards for the museum displays to help visitors better interpret the artifacts and history of Traer and northern Tama County farmers – in essence creating self-guided tours of the agricultural exhibits.

The three displays slated to receive video cards through Prouse’s work this summer include Famers and Families, The Changing Farm, and Higher Yields: The Science and Technology of Agriculture.

Prouse is particularly excited about her work on Farmers and Families, she said, as it focuses on the area where she grew up, Geneseo Township. Her work on the project will involve collecting interviews and photos of early and current farm families and their family histories in an effort to better understand how farmers have influenced the community as a whole.

“I’m very excited,” Prouse said of the 12-week internship. “I love when I get to talk to visitors and board members. I love hearing their stories of what it was like to grow up here.”

Thanks to Prouse, the museum – located in downtown Traer at 514 Second Street – is open this summer Monday through Thursday from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. For more information, refer to the museum’s Facebook page or website: http://www.traer.com/museums.