Each year Congressional Cemetery hosts summer interns from both undergraduate and graduate programs. These interns help us with a variety of tasks depending on their interests and our needs. Typical projects include assisting with the ongoing condition assessments of the gravestones, writing for our newsletter and blog, researching genealogy, and “other duties as assigned” – a job descriptor the staff members here are also familiar with. This year we are thrilled to welcome two summer interns, and for the very first time, a virtual intern. Hannah Miller will be completing her projects off-site, and you’ll be hearing from her often over the next few months. But now, we’ll let her introduce herself:


Okay I don’t actually know if there’s going to be a “part 2” about me on this blog, but I felt like I needed an epic title to intrigue you and make you all keep reading even though this post has very little to do with Congressional Cemetery, and, since you follow a blog entirely devoted to Congressional Cemetery, my guess is that you personally enjoy history or cemeteries or both. But I am none of those things (sadly); I’m  just a 22-year-old girl who someone allowed to be an intern, and who perhaps enjoys history and cemeteries as much as you!

Hi, my name is Hannah Miller, and yes…. I am that strange girl who unabashedly enjoys spending time in cemeteries all by herself and isn’t there to “visit” any grave in particular, but who genuinely finds interest in gravestones–their design, the names engraved thereupon, their dates, and the mystery they hold. I guess maybe I should start at the beginning, and that way you’ll have a better idea of who I am and what background I come from.

First off, I have a confession to make. No, don’t worry, I haven’t done anything illegal (lately), but what I need to illustrate to you is this: I have a very active imagination. Maybe some of you can relate to me in this.  For those of us with active imaginations, history is very exhilarating.  Like how some folks out there find excitement delving deep into a fantasy novel and invest their hearts in fictional characters, I adore reading and learning about real-life figures from the past because my imagination allows me to picture their life–their struggles, their successes, what they loved, and how they felt–and then it feels that much more intimate to me because I know it really happened.

I was born in the early 90’s to a family who already had seven other kids, which, you might think, seems like overkill, but something beneficial that comes with having seven older siblings is all of the stories that come along with that. There’s nothing my family loves more than sitting around and telling stories, and, since I was the youngest and therefore least experienced, I think I developed the desire to live my life in hopes that I’d finally have a story to tell my family that could compete with everyone’s older than me. Some examples of this would be like the time I moved from Oregon to Vermont and learned woodworking…. or moved to Utah to live in a small town and dated a cowboy….or like now, how I’ve decided to move to Virginia and fulfill my desire to get a degree in Historic Preservation, so that even those people who have died can still share their stories.

Historic Preservation, to me, is a way to preserve the past so that people, and places, and events never lose their significance.The next chapter of my life is one that I would like to devote to serving others, and ensuring that all of those wonderful stories, despite maybe being decades or centuries old, can continue being shared, learned from, and enjoyed. This opportunity to intern with Congressional Cemetery is one that I hope to spend a lot of time learning from, but will also hopefully allow me to pass that knowledge on to those around me, and those reading this blog! So, thanks for taking the time to listen to my story and I hope to have the opportunity to add to it. Maybe in the form of a part 2?

Thanks, all! I hope you’re all enjoying your week.

— Hannah