by Graham Sturgeon, co-editor

MICHIGAN RAILROAD HISTORY MUSEUM interns, Sophie Pawloski (left) and Mallory Lucas are shown with the research project they completed over the summer. Pawloski is a 2016 graduate of Durand High School (DHS) and Lucas is a senior at DHS. The girls spent more than 100 combined hours going through the museum’s archives to compile the necessary information for their project, as well as setting up and dressing the mannequin.

The display shows what a Grand Trunk Western (GTW) Railroad baseball player would have looked like during the early to mid 1900s. During that era of American industrialism, the railroad employed many of Durand’s residents, which led the GTW to sponsor professional teams comprised of their employees. The team’s competed against other local teams that were sponsored by Durand or Shiawassee County businesses, as well as traveling regionally. It is said, that Durand had a sizable advantage over its opponents, due to their many passenger cars as they needed to bring their fans to the city their team was playing that day. Additionally, several players parlayed their GTW baseball experience and the opportunity to travel outside the state into tryouts with professional minor league teams. (Courtesy Photos)

Two Durand High School students recently completed summer internships with the Michigan Railroad History Museum, which is located on the first floor of the Durand Union Station. The two worked together to research and assemble a display about baseball teams sponsored by Grand Trunk Western Railroad, which date back to at least the early part of the 20th century.

Class of 2016 graduate Sophie Pawloski, who is now studying biomechanical engineering as a student at Michigan Technological University, and Durand senior Mallory Lucas were chosen from a sizable applicant pool to work over the summer inside the museum with curator, Michael Boudro. The interns were tasked with archival and cataloging work, in addition to the research project. Boudro noted that the Cook Family Foundation generously sponsored the internships, allowing the interns to be paid for their efforts.

“I’ve always been someone who enjoyed learning, and due to this experience I was able to spend my summer surrounded by items and people filled with knowledge,” said Pawloski of her experience. I cannot thank the foundation enough for the opportunity, and it will be something I will never forget.”

DUSI staff members were delighted to have the interns. “Sophie and Mallory have been absolutely fantastic,” said Boudro. “I hope the community comes out to the Depot soon to see what they have put together, because it is definitely something to be proud of. Those girls put so much time into the project. They really are rock stars.”

In addition to Pawloski and Lucas, high school-aged volunteers have also contributed to the museum this summer. Cameron Counterman and Paul Kamm both gave their time and effort to help make the museum and nonprofit run more smoothly. “This building can’t stay beautiful without the hard work of volunteers, and we are grateful for Cameron, Paul, and all of our wonderful volunteers,” said Boudro.

Lucas found the experience particularly useful, as she is considering a career in history. “Throughout the summer, I was able to obtain several vital skills that will improve my experience as a student,” said Lucas. “Throughout the research process, I became familiar with new research skills that I haven’t yet learned in school. I am more comfortable with doing tasks such as gathering information, analyzing data, determining what information is the most relevant to the topic, and forming a well thought-out conclusion.”

The baseball display will be up until November, at which time it will be stored until next summer, and a new seasonal display will take its place. The Michigan Railroad History Museum is open from 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, and from 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays.

DHS Student Interns Hit Home Run With Depot Exhibit was last modified: August 29th, 2016 by Karen Elford