I cannot believe that it has been eight weeks! Eight weeks since I began my regular visits to the beautiful old courthouse as an intern at the Museum of History, and now it's coming to an end. It is such a hard reality that A) my summer is almost over and classes will soon be needing my attention, and B) that I will no longer be going to the Museum four days a week. (B is honestly the more depressing fact, although A is a very, very close second.)
I have experienced a lot while at the museum. Most of the time, when people ask me what I've been doing during my internship, I usually say “whatever is asked of me," which is true. I have gotten to be in almost every single room of the Museum and I have done many, many different things for Susan, the Museum's curator, and Tod, the Museum's registrar. I am sure if I was asked to list it all, I would forget something. I've done little jobs, such as copying images or holding a light so the camera can get just the perfect shot of a strange hat covered in plastic fruit; and big jobs, such as cleaning a 1969 National Winning ISU Baseball trophy and making my own accessions -- you name it, I have probably done it. I've come to the Museum every day not knowing what to expect, and I would not change my internship at all.
Along the way, a realization hit me. We were going through re-evaluation of objects in the basement. Half of those beautiful objects that I was photographing and examining would never be seen on display. The beautiful violin that I was carefully putting back into its case probably would not be taken out of that case again in quite some time -- years even! The next time would probably be when it was time for another condition report or, maybe if it was lucky, when it was going on display. This realization made me sad, but also gave me drive. This is what I want to do: to be the keeper of artifacts like these. To be able to see and care for objects like these and have a passion for them that someone else might not have.
I have spent a long time wondering what it was I wanted to do with my degree. Every time someone asks about my education, I answer that I am a History and Anthropology double major and that I will be finishing up my degree within a year.Inevitably, I get the follow-up question, “What are you going to do with that?"
For the longest time the response was, “probably go to grad school." But after taking a Museum Studies class at ISU and completing this internship, my answer has changed to simply “museum work." My roommates joke that I would be happy just being the janitor at any museum. They are not wrong. This internship has been a real eye-opener. It has ignited my passion for museums, and I do not see that passion dying out any time soon.