International Exchange Program 2023 Orientation

International Exchange Program Interns on the steps of the U.S. Capitol

Prior to the start of their internships, this year’s International Exchange Program (IEP) interns gathered together in Washington, D.C., for an amazing few days of heritage-focused tours, visits, and meetings. We’d like to thank Katelynn Cunningham, World Heritage USA Program Coordinator, for organizing and leading the first in-person IEP Orientation since 2019. Katelynn kept us updated on the interns’ days in D.C.:

Day 1 began with a welcome presentation from World Heritage USA and then Allison Huchko, a 2022 IEP alumna, gave an overview of her IEP experience. Next, the interns met with representatives from the ACHP – Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and the US Department of State’s Cultural Heritage Center.

In the afternoon, the group was given a behind-the-scenes tour of the Smithsonian Castle and Arts and Industries Buildings. The Castle is currently closed to the public for a multi-year renovation project, and the Arts and Industries Building is waiting for a project that will bring it back to life. Both buildings present challenges that these emerging professionals will face in their future careers!

Day 2 of the 2023 IEP Orientation began with a visit to Dumbarton Oaks. During our tour with the director of the gardens and grounds, the group learned about cultural landscape preservation and the creativity and compromise needed to preserve the historic significance of both the house and its landscape architecture. Then, we went into the museum for a look at the institution’s Byzantine and pre-Columbian collections.
In the afternoon, the group paid a visit to the Department of the Interior to meet with our friends at the National Park Service. First, Heritage Documentation Programs talked about how they create and manage the nation’s largest archive of historic architectural, engineering, and landscape documentation. Next, the Office of International Affairs discussed their role in nominating and monitoring the country’s World Heritage Sites. Before leaving, the group had the opportunity to admire the view of Washington D.C. from the rooftop.
To end the day, some of the 2023 IEP inters went on a “monuments night walk” in the National Mall to see landmarks, such as the Lincoln Memorial, illuminated in the dark.
Day 3 of the 2023 IEP Orientation started with a trip to the U.S. Capitol building where, of course, we had to take a group picture of this year’s cohort. We then went inside for a tour of the Capitol and a look at the museum in the visitor’s center. There, they have a great exhibition on the techniques used for the preservation of the building and its art. Next, the group made its way across the street to the Library of Congress and spent some time admiring the architecture, murals, and mosaics.
The entire afternoon was spent inside the National Museum of African American History and Culture. With six enormous floors full of engaging and interactive exhibits, we stayed inside the museum until it closed and still felt like we had barely scratched the surface.
Overall, we had an amazing time with our 2023 cohort in Washington D.C.! Though we were sad to say goodbye, we know this group will have a fantastic time immersed in different aspects of historic preservation this summer and we look forward to sharing their experiences and adventures over the following weeks via social media.
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