What is your internship?
I am an intern with the Collections Department of the National Civil Rights Museum. I work under Marian Carpenter who is the Collections Manager of the Museum and is responsible for the intake, storage, research and upkeep of artifacts and objects. My job is to go through the objects we receive, draft condition reports, describe the use of each object, how it needs to be stored and displayed. For each object, I also do background research: how it is useful to the museum and how it relates to the rest of the collection. The Loraine Motel part of the complex is closing down for renovation this fall and the Museum extended a call for artifact donations so the Collections Department has been very busy.
Is most of your work related to paperwork?
Some of it is paperwork but a lot of it is actually hands-on working with the objects. I don’t get my hands dirty because we have to wear gloves but I don’t just do data-entry. I actually handle a lot of the objects myself.
What types of objects do you receive?
Just recently, we received two LIFE magazines. One is from 1965 that features the March for Civil Rights in Selma, Alabama. The second one is from 1969 about black models and it features a black model on the cover, which was very innovative at the time. What is also significant about that particular issue is that it switches from talking about “negro” to talking about “black” people. Both of these magazines will be added to the Museum collection.
Do all objects you work with make it into the Museum collection?
We document every single object we receive. We describe, package and store it properly. However, not all objects make it into the collection.
How did you get to intern with the National Civil Rights Museum?
The Museum reached out to History Department because they were looking for interns. Dr. Neal Palmer (Chair, History & Political Science) told all history majors about the opportunity and I applied.
Is this internship opportunity for credit?
I started my internship in May and worked through August, for Fall 2012 credit. I am technically done with it but I am still there because I liked it so much that I just kept coming back. My academic advisor, Dr. Ben Jordan (Visiting Associate Professor of History and Director of Living Learning Communities) was also my internship supervisor. We have been meeting on a regular basis. He came to visit my internship site and I am in the process of completing my final internship report.
You graduate next spring. Do you have any plans for after graduation?
Yes. I would like to teach so I am currently in the process of applying to graduate programs in education. I am applying to the MAT here at CBU, to Vanderbilt and University of Melbourne, Australia.
If you are interested in doing an internship, talk to your advisor or contact the Career Center today!