August 10, 2022
By Haley Dittbrenner ’25
history major with military aspirations, Preston Isom ’23 spent his summer interning in Oklahoma with the Fort Sill National Landmark and Museum and the U.S. Army Artillery Museum. Both are operated by the U.S. Army Center of Military History, which is responsible for educating soldiers and curating a nationwide network of museums and collections.A
“I’m interested in making history approachable to a wide audience, and museums are the premier way to do so,” Isom said.
He was already familiar with the Fort Sill area from his past participation in basic combat training with the U.S. Army. His responsibilities at the museums were taking inventory within the Fort Sill archive, developing exhibits — including a historical arms room — visiting community museums, handling artifacts and working with the community during tours.
“The artillery museums’ collection of historical artillery is one of the best in the world. Being able to view and learn about the collection is impressive,” Isom said. “Learning how to handle historical artifacts is a valuable skill that I would not have learned elsewhere. I also enjoyed working with the staff who had history and military backgrounds.”
Isom, of Allentown, Pennsylvania, applied to the museum internship with assistance from the Bison Battalion, a cooperative ROTC program in which he participates that also includes students from Bucknell and Bloomsburg universities. He also credits Susquehanna’s history department as supporting him, notably Robert Rouphail, assistant professor of history, and Edward Slavishak, professor of history.
“Both have emphasized being able to write for both academic and public audiences,” Isom said. “Participation in their classes developed my writing skills and research ability, which made it possible for me to participate in the program.”
“Combining that with also being able to work with the U.S. Army museum program, I could not have asked for internships better suited to my interests,” he said. “I hope this will enhance my education as a researcher and communicator of history.”
After graduating from Susquehanna University, Isom will be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the military with hopes of entering active duty as a field artillery officer.