Through the summer and fall, I’ve been an intern for the museum archive. My task has been to help in identifying and describing German-language materials, and to translate some of them into English, so they can be indexed correctly and be more accessible to users of the archive who don’t read German.
I am Chelsea Pokrzywinski, a first year graduate student at the University of Illinois studying library and information science. With a bachelor’s degree in history from ISU and the goal of working in a library or museum after graduate school, I felt the museum was the best place to learn what archivists do every day. I worked with several collections during my internship in the fall of 2015, but my main project involved the St. Mary’s Church and School Collection.
The Museum may be a repository for McLean County’s history, but it’s hardly the only place where you can observe the past.The Museum is for studying and analyzing history; to see where it came from, one has to search it out
My Communications degree program at Illinois State University requires an internship.When I started at ISU last fall I was apprehensive about it. Where would I apply? Would I have time to fit it in with my work schedule? What would I like to do? These questions ran through my noggin' over and over until I realized what I really enjoyed…talking and history.
Because of my time spent at the museum, I feel enlightened to the numerous occupations related to history, not just history education. Although I will probably continue to pursue teaching history at the high school level, the stress of questioning the utility of my history degree has all but diminished. I am thankful for what I have gained through the museum: a refreshing perspective, a rewarding feeling, and a fantastic staff of professionals that I can now call my friends.
...my job at the museum has been to organize the Morrell family collection. The Morrell family are longtime residents of McLean County and their belongings do well to help picture Bloomington through the ages.
Every spring the Museum hosts some of the projects created for the Tri-Valley History Fair.
My first day here I was given the task of making a finding aid for a nearly 100-year-old collection of World War I material, mainly books and military manuals. A finding aid is a typed inventory of the contents of an archival collection, and as such helps researchers and those interested in the collection find their way around the material.
That had to be my favorite day, as it morphed from handling the objects in the room to having several employees in the museum show me the various archives and vaults that I had yet to see. I clearly didn't understand the scope of the museum collections nor what their accreditation meant for a museum in a city of this size.
The Archives' photo collection is in the process of becoming more accessible than ever. The Archives Photo Scanning Project, conducted over the last year, will allow people within the Museum to have digital access to most of the photos in the Archives.
As a college student I could not help but notice the lack of involvement from my demographic. Sure, the interns are college students, but college students are typically not the ones visiting the Museum, which is why it's important for them to have a date with the Museum, just as I did. On the first Tuesday of September, from 6 to 8 PM, college students will be able to get free Monical's pizza and free admission to the Museum.
Early on in my internship I began noticing interesting items on the censuses. While many occupations are familiar even today (photographer, dressmaker, tayloress, student), there were plenty of unusual occupations that made me investigate more...
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."
Technology has pretty much been integrated into every aspect of our daily lives. Of course, there are times when technology isn't really appropriate. (I would argue that there really is no need for a litter box that flushes.) But, despite what some might say, I think museums across the country are doing an excellent job of figuring out when to incorporate technology, and when to leave history to speak for itself.
While conducting a survey in the summer haze of the WGLT concert in downtown Bloomington, I had a conversation with two excited women who had just taken a break from dancing in the street. I asked them, “What would make you visit the McLean County Museum of History again?"
My first year, starting as a camper, I was quite nervous. What if I got bored or I didn't like the staff or worse, the kids wouldn't like me? These pesky concerns remained with me until I stepped foot into the Museum.
I had never imagined that I would end up in a museum, but I learned in high school that I was passionate about history, its preservation, and being a part of keeping history alive.
A brief history of the LGBTQ+ rights movement, and why we need to record what's happening.