Michael Webster standing in front of one of the many interpretive supplements present at the Independence Ghost Town. Interns with the Aspen Historical Society should be prepared to answer a variety guest inquiries.

In the summer of 2021, I had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work as an interpretive intern with the Aspen Historical Society. Working with AHS over the summer enabled me to serve within several public-facing outlets including, guiding tours, working within the museum, and providing information to visitors of the multiple silver-mining ghost towns surrounding Aspen. Under the guidance of Dr. Sarah Payne, I pursued this internship due to the new experiences it would provide me over the summer in the realm of both historical thinking and personal development.

This summer provided me with the chance to spend the summer living in an 1800s ghost town in a restored cabin without water or electricity. This unique experience allowed me to immerse myself, furthering my understanding of historical scholarship and its implementation for public audiences. Throughout the summer, I dedicated time to studying the history of the many historic sites managed by AHS to ensure the information I offered as a certified interpreter was accurate and accessible to all guests to Aspen through tours and public learning. In the first week, the AHS interns completed Certified Interpretative Guide training with a course provided by the National Association of Interpretation. Using these advanced methods to relay information to audiences of all backgrounds is an invaluable skill that I hope to implement in a future career in some manner of public-facing education.

Reflecting upon this experience will continue to affect my trajectory as a historian. Understanding how to relate information to those within the public through innovative and engaging methods will continue to motivate me as I develop into a professional historian through my final year of graduate instruction here at Colorado State University.


On certain tours, interns with the Aspen Historical Society have the opportunity to wear period appropriate costuming. In the background is the Wheeler-Stallard Museum, where the Aspen Historical Society is based.
The Independence Ghost Town general store. Interns with the Aspen Historical society offer interpretive experiences from this location.
Interns may have a change to hike Independence Creek, where a breathtaking view of the Independence Ghost Town may be experienced.
A few thousand feet above Independence Ghost Town, interns have the chance to take visitors on a hike on the green mountain trail where abandoned miner’s cabins and mining structures are visible. This image contains an old mine shaft that has been filled in.