Intern Reflection: Rachael Laing
The first question everyone asks when they find out that I am attending ISU’s graduate program for history is “What specific era do you study?” That’s a lie, the first question is usually “So you want to be a teacher?” The answer to both is – no. Teachers are incredibly important, and sometimes even inspiring, but I don’t have the patience for it. I also don’t have a favorite time period. To study only one piece of history is to miss out on… literally everything else. That’s why when I heard about an open archivist internship I filled out the application as quickly as possible.
Museums were a big part of my childhood. My parents and grandparents would pick a date every summer to take us to the Field Museum, where we could see dinosaurs next to a replica Egyptian tomb. What has always made these places important to me is the fact that anyone can walk in knowing nothing and leave knowing a little bit about a lot of different subjects. My project this semester has satisfied my need for knowledge.
Since December I have had the pleasure of going through some dead guy’s stuff. Walking into the job I had little background in Illinois politics, and as a person who new to the Bloomington-Normal area had no context for the workings of the town (circa mid-20th century). Luckily, the man behind the collection was incredibly active throughout his life. I will finish my internship with some information on Adlai Stevenson II, Bloomington’s Committee on Urban Renewal, the Red Cross after the Second World War, the Illinois Soldier’s and Sailor’s Children’s School, Soviet stamps, and 1950’s jokes. That’s a pretty varied list for only a few months sorting through papers.