It is a special opportunity when your career interest blends with a longtime avocation. Alex Buchheit enjoyed a summer of a lifetime where baseball heroes are immortalized.
A second-year graduate public history student at Wright State University, Buchheit was one of 19 college students nationwide selected for the 10-week Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program for Youth Leadership Development at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown. Selected from 500 applicants, the students assisted in preparations for the Induction Weekend, connecting generations through the game of baseball and continuing their professional development.
Buchheit, a Mason native who roots for the hometown Cincinnati Reds, said the internship encompassed his interests in baseball and history preservation.
“We had perfect weather for the induction ceremony. It was 75 degrees and sunny,” he said. “Scott Rolen was one of the inductees this year, and he played for the Reds so that was really exciting for me.”
A parade kicks off induction weekend and Buchheit was charged with placing signs on the vehicles. He also assisted in various facets of setup for the induction ceremony.
His primary responsibility during his internship was serving the curatorial department. Curators decide which items are to be on display in the Hall of Fame.
“Each item has information labels next to it that visitors read,” he said. “Some of the artifacts that will be featured in the near future will have labels that were written by me.”
Buchheit called on one of his Wright State professors to assist him with one of his endeavors in Cooperstown. He was setting up a small display case with artifacts recently acquired by the museum. It included a jersey for the APF Giants, a team that played in the USSR Russian Baseball Championships.
The jersey was written in the Russian Cyrillic alphabet, and Buchheit reached out to his mentor, Sean Pollock, Ph.D., associate professor of history and director of the Graduate History Program.
“Dr. Pollock knows Russian and reads Cyrillic. I sent a picture of the jersey to him so he could translate it for me,” Buchheit said. “He helped me uncover some details about that team, and it opened up a myriad of avenues for me to do more research.”
Buchheit also wrote labels for the “Your Team Today” exhibit and wrote an essay to complement the updated “Black Baseball Exhibit.”
The experience in Cooperstown further solidified his interest in being a museum curator or history preservation role. He credited Pollock and Wright State’s Public History Program for keeping him on the right path.
“While I was completing my undergraduate degree at Hillsdale College in Michigan, one of the professors told me that Wright State had the oldest public history program in the nation,” he said. “Kathryn Meyer gave me a tour and I was sold.”
Buchheit, who is on track to graduate in April 2024, said Wright State University has lived up to his expectations.
“It has been an absolute blast. Our professors have great command of the field and prepare students for subsequent success,” he said. “Students can acquire a great deal of hands-on experience. There is never a dull moment here.”