BETHEL — Adam Mahar job-shadowed several Bates College professors last winter, and now, he’s the Bethel Historical Society’s intern for the summer.

It’s all part of a long-term plan to eventually become a college professor in history, the classics, or both.

The Telstar High School senior particularly likes the classics in literature and history of the Roman Empire and ancient Greece. But learning more about the nuts and bolts of gathering local history is all part of the overall plan.

“It’s amazing how much research you can do on local history,” he said.

One of his assignments so far during the 10-week internship, has been checking in and cataloging a recent donation to the society of artifacts, paintings and other items from the estate of Margaret Joy Tibbetts.

The Bethel woman, who was among the first women to serve in the U.S. diplomatic corps, was an ambassador to Norway. She died last year.

So far, Mahar has researched vital records for the society, transcribed letters, learned to footnote, and carried out whatever history-related task Director of Education and Research and Associate Director of the society, Stan Howe, has asked him to do.

“We want to get youth involved and get them started young on what life in a historical society is like,” Howe said.

This is the fifth year a high school student has been selected to serve as an intern for the summer. Each receives a $1,000 stipend. Prior to the change to high school interns, the society played host to college students.

Among Mahar’s many tasks has been leading Saturday visitors to Bethel on tours of the town’s historical buildings.

He holds a sign near the town center announcing the free tours.

Last Saturday, he led a family from Ontario around the town, pointing out federal-style buildings, and other forms of architecture, and explaining why they are classified the way they are.

The Robinson House, where many of the Bethel Historical Society’s offices, artifacts and display areas are located, is one of the best examples of federal-style buildings, he said.

Mahar has also learned that there’s so much to do and so many volunteers who help out at the society.

When he wraps up his internship at the end of August, he is required to turn in three papers — an autobiography, biography and a special historical research project.

Howe said the requirements serve several purposes.

“We want them to learn to write and many have not written an autobiography, and talk to relatives for a biography,” he said.

Mahar has chosen to research and write about his grandfather, John Mahar, and to do the same for the Chisholm Ski Club in Rumford where he often Nordic skis. He never knew his grandfather so this is a chance to learn about him, he said.

Howe believes it’s extremely important to give young people a chance.

“I was nurtured by so many people (when he was earning his Ph.D. in history). I want to give back,” he said.

For Mahar, it’s a chance to learn about his home area, as well as to learn some of the tools historians need.

He is the son of Anne Marie and Joseph Mahar of Andover.


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