As an intern, I ran many errands for the aSHEville Museum. These included getting lunch or dinner from the Mediterranean place down the street, getting exhibit craft supplies from stores, finding appropriately sized frames from Michael’s, and going to Kinko’s to have things copied and laminated. Errands like that were very much what I expected as an intern.
One thing I did not expect as an intern was handling museum funds. Before one set of errands, Heidi pressed two crisp hundred-dollar bills into my hand. I had to keep track of receipts and keep that money separate from my own. It was a big responsibility and was somewhat stressful. As I spent the money getting things for the exhibit, I realized that two hundred dollars is a fraction of what most exhibits cost.
During my time with the aSHEville Museum, I had to utilize a number of skills. The first of which was communication. From the first day of the internship, I was working primarily off site in coffee shops and libraries. This meant that communicating with my supervisors so that they could monitor my progress and pint me in the right direction (both local and at Roanoke College) was imperative. It was not easy to constantly check in and some weeks I neglected to communicate with my on site supervisor, which meant that I did some research she did not want.
A skill I used that I developed at school was research. I was in methods this past semester and learned about interpreting primary source documents, photos, and analyzing documents for context and biases. All of these skills were required and further developed for the research I did on Wonder Woman.
Time management was something I struggled with throughout the summer. I had many other things I could be doing and no hard deadlines, so I did some of my research during the day at libraries and coffee shops and some at night from my bed. This summer made it clear that time management is something I need to work on in all areas of my life.
I learned some things about museums that I had never even thought to be curious about and would love to learn more about. There is this group of local businesses on every street in Asheville and they meet to discuss how their street looks to tourists and locals alike. The Museum is on Wall Street, which is trying to brand itself as “Walkable Wall Street.” Heidi is an active participant in these and other meetings for local businesses in the city. In addition, there is an interconnectedness of the museums in Asheville. There are few, but aSHEville made several calls to the Art Museum to borrow cases, ask for advice on exhibits, and for some advertising. I do not know if this museum to museum contact is typical, but I am definitely interested in finding out more about this exchange and teamwork that takes place.
In my internship I learned about the changing expectations of bosses and how to adapt accordingly. I was, at times, given a set of instructions that changed by the next week. As an intern, I would just adapt and continue with the new instructions.
As discussed earlier, I learned that I lack a certain amount of self-discipline that it takes to meet and work towards self-set goals. I require hard deadlines and a little bit of panic to get things done. I anticipate paying more attention to this in the upcoming semester.
Overall, this internship has given me a taste of the private museum world. I enjoyed the summer at aSHEville, but I want to learn more about public museums and in the future I would like to intern at a museum or house that has its own archives.