The second half of my internship this semester has gotten a lot more interesting. The redundant and meticulous process of cataloguing items is still a fairly regular job of mine, but my internship coordinator has been trying to give me new experiences so that I leave the Virginia Museum of Transportation with more than one skill.
A few weeks back I was cataloguing a collection from a deceased Roanoke resident names Paul Stonesifer. The majority of this collection consisted of rail tickets from the Pullman Company, which I learned was a very luxurious form of travel as every traveller taking a Pullman car got an overnight sleeping suite. Some of the particularly interesting parts of this collection are several World Series baseball tickets from the year 1952. As I went through this collection piece by piece, I was able to figure out Paul Stonesifer’s story. That is, he was a wealthy man who could afford to take a train trip from Roanoke to New York to watch the World Series. It was really neat seeing how there are genuine stories behind these items I am cataloguing. They are not all just shriveled up pieces of paper of rusty old junk.
The exciting bit of this is that my internship coordinator thought it might be fun to make this collection into a tiny exhibit. Our first step with this was figuring out where the exhibit would be. In a museum as jam-packed as the VMT, this is an important step. We decided that we would remove a transportation hats exhibit near the entrance of the museum and replace it with pieces from this Stonesifer collection. We will construct the narrative around the concept of “Oh the Places You’ll Go,” sort of playing on Dr. Seuss’ famous quote in order to introduce patrons to the concept of transportation that is obviously integral to the VMT.