With snow still on the ground and the temps way colder than we prefer here in Virginia, I’m thinking ahead to summer for many reasons. One in particular is that summer means internship time! I’m a big fan of internship programs. In the liberal arts fields, especially museums, internships are essential for gaining experience and getting started in your career. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without the opportunities I found through museum internships, so I’m always excited to work with students and help them along on their career path. Plus, interns can provide a huge amount of help to all of us here at the NSLM! (Not to mention they are often young, tech savvy college kids who help me figure out all the latest apps for my iPhone.) It’s a win-win-win.
Are you, or a student you know, interested in an internship at the NSLM? We are now accepting applications for Summer 2015. Take a look at the available positions and application instructions on the NSLM website here.
Last summer, we were lucky to have three fantastic recent college graduates spend several weeks interning at the NSLM. They were kind enough to take time out of their busy young-people lives and answer a few questions for us.
Our 2014 all-star line up was:
Kasey Morris – Princeton University, Class of 2014, Major: Classical Studies
Emily Perdue – Winthrop University, Class of 2014, Major: History, with concentrations in Art History and German
Anna Carneal – Longwood University, Class of 2014, Major: Public History
1. What led you to look for a library or museum internship?
Kasey: The summer before my senior year at Princeton, I went on an archaeological excavation and realized how much I really liked handling artifacts and objects; it was fascinating to begin to understand history from a more physical, hands-on perspective. I knew that I wanted (and needed) to get more experience in a museum setting if I wanted to seriously pursue such a field of work in the future.
Emily: I heard about the internship program from a family member who had recently become an NSLM member. I was looking for an internship for the summer after graduation, in order to start getting some experience in a museum or library field. I was extremely excited to learn more about the program. It was a perfect opportunity to learn more about what I wanted to make a career in.
Anna: After graduating from Longwood, I wanted to stay involved with museums – I figured interning at the NSLM would be the perfect opportunity to get hands-on experience and apply what I learned at school in the field. Plus it’s a great resume builder!
- Who did you work with and what types of projects did you work on during your time here?
Kasey: I mostly worked with Nicole Stribling, but also had the chance to assist Claudia Pfeiffer and Alexandra McKay. I gained a lot of experience not only with the curatorial side of things, but also with the membership and events aspects of museum work, to include helping at the front desk and being involved with the annual polo benefit match. The great thing about my NSLM internship was that I was able to learn at least a little about all the things that make a museum run efficiently by interacting with almost all members of the staff at one point or another.
Emily: I had the opportunity to work with John Connolly, the George L. Ohrstrom, Jr. Librarian, on archive collections. My first project was sorting through and creating an archival system for documents and photographs from the family of Leon Rasmussen, a journalist and editor for the Daily Racing Form. (He was the creator of the “Rasmussen Factor” which looks at the effect of inbreeding in stallions and how that determines the level at which they could win). The archival project was by far my favorite during my internship because it gave me the knowledge and experience in the field that I’ve always wanted to work.
Anna: I worked with Nicole Stribling, Curator of Permanent Collections at the Museum, on a variety of projects – many involving work with the collections database, called EmbARK. This included helping to complete a thorough inventory of the art collection in the Library and Museum, and conducting research on artists in the database.
- What was your favorite part of your NSLM internship?
Kasey: My favorite project was definitely completing the initial processing on a very large collection of antique dog collars which were donated to the museum. This included measuring, photographing, and researching collars which ranged in date from around the 4th century BC through the 20th century, from places all over the world! There were so many interesting stories connected to particular pieces – names of pets and messages from their owners inscribed on collars, including one from a small pub in England and another connected to a famous World War I American general. However, even more than this particular project, I would have to say that my favorite part overall was getting to meet and work with everyone – NSLM is a wonderful community of incredibly intelligent and fun people.
Emily: My favorite part of my NSLM internship was being given the opportunity to work with an amazing group of people and in a wonderful institution, on projects that have given me great experience and new knowledge. I graduated with a degree in History and have always wanted to work within a museum or as an archivist. As far as a specific project that was my favorite, the Rasmussen archival project was definitely the best. I was able to work on it on my own to create a system for searching the documents that had been donated. It was awesome to learn more about Leon Rasmussen and his career first-hand.
Anna: My favorite part of the internship was how tightly knit the full time staff seems to be. It helps working at a smaller institution because you can get a better view on how a museum runs. I feel it’s important to know more than just one single aspect of how a museum operates, because a future job may require a more diverse skill set than what is listed in the job description.
- What’s next in your academic or work career?
Kasey: I am currently working on my Master’s in Classical Archaeology at Oxford, with an emphasis on Roman portraiture and the history of collecting classical art. I volunteer in the museum system here (mostly working on coin cataloguing at the Ashmolean), and I hope to stay in the UK to pursue a doctorate in either archaeology or ancient history.
Emily: I am currently working part-time at the NSLM and am still learning so much about working in a museum every day, which is absolutely amazing. I love every minute of it! I am planning on attending graduate school soon to get my Master’s degree in Museum Studies. I am also hoping to find a full-time job at an historical institution to continue learning and gaining new experiences as much as I can.
Anna: I recently accepted a full time position as a Museum Educator with Morven Park in Leesburg. I am excited to see where this job leads me over the next couple of years as an emerging Museum Professional.
A big Thank you and Congratulations to our interns for all of their hard work and accomplishments!