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Northwest student Madison Barben spent part of her August in Germany as one of eight students from throughout the world who were selected to participate in the Prince Albert Society Summer Workshop. Students learned to develop research sources and skills while researching German-British history. (Submitted photo)

Northwest student Madison Barben spent part of her August in Germany as one of eight students from throughout the world who were selected to participate in the Prince Albert Society Summer Workshop. Students learned to develop research sources and skills while researching German-British history. (Submitted photo)

Sept. 24, 2019

Barben travels to Germany, hones research skills at history workshop

By Kala Dixon, communication assistant


Northwest Missouri State University student Madison Barben was one of eight students from throughout the world invited to Germany last month by The Prince Albert Society to learn about archiving history.

Barben, a junior history student from Omaha, Nebraska, spent a week in Coburg, Germany, commemorating the 200th anniversary of Prince Albert’s birth. The workshop helped students develop research skills and learn how to analyze archives and primary sources. Students also participated in a research project that encapsulated Albert’s transnational legacy.

Barben, who was selected through an online application, received an Undergraduate Research Award from Northwest’s College of Arts and Sciences to support her trip. The Prince Albert Society subsidized the fees of the workshop and conference.

Students spent the first half of the week in a workshop.

“Both of the days in the workshop were focused on looking at different types of primary sources and how to analyze them,” Barben said. “We had a project where we had to try to find out what happened to (Albert’s son) Prince Alfred in Australia in 1868. We had to look through primary documents and letters.”

During the second half of the week, students attended a conference in a medieval fortress castle, Veste Coburg. Students heard from various European speakers and academics who spoke about the importance of historical archiving.

Barben also found time to learn about German culture.

“I knew some German, but not a lot,” she said. “All these German academies knew English and could switch so easily from German to English. They wanted to include me in the conversation about how history was told in the United States and it was really cool to learn about them.”

Barben believes the experience she had was a valuable one, and she plans to incorporate the skills she learned into future internships and jobs.

“To succeed in either field, one must have an understanding of the structure of archives and of the documents that they preserve,” Barben said. “The workshop helped me start to understand archives and historical documents. Participation in the workshop prepared for my future career by further developing my research abilities.”

Barben also says the faculty and her coursework at Northwest have contributed to her success and knowledge in the fields of history and archiving.

“The projects and papers for my history courses rely heavily on the implementation and understanding of primary sources,” Barben said. “I have already used some of the research techniques that I learned in my courses this year.”

After completing her bachelor’s degree at Northwest, Barben plans to attend graduate school and study history or museum studies. She hopes to work with archives in a museum or go into education at a university.


Media contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704