Well, it’s been awhile…again.
Since my last post, I have done so much during my internship with the Salem Museum. A rather large difference between my internship experience as opposed to the other summer interns that I have picked up on is that, while my peers seem to have specific assignments or tasks, my experience has been very sporadic. My supervisors did not bring me on with any particular projects in mind. That being the case, my work over the past summer has been reflective of that. On any given day, I could come in and work on accessioning new items, or writing up a paragraph on a display, or setting up for an event, and so on. I have done all of these things and more in the past weeks. Since it’s been awhile, I’ll give examples of some highlights.
One day, the Salem Museum received a cylindrical display case from the Salem Library (a picture of this will be at the end). Once we had gotten it inside, my supervisor immediately wanted it put to use. He was planning on putting up a small exhibit to coincide with the 60th reunion of the George Washington Carver School’s class of 1957. The Carver School was once a local school for African Americans of Salem and the Roanoke Valley, and even beyond. Now, the building is Carver Elementary School. My supervisor tasked me with gathering the items to put on display and doing the small write up for it. I used our archival database, PastPerfect, to find any related items in the collection. Alex choose what to use out of what I had found. Then, using some of the resources in the research library on the third floor of the building, I wrote a short paragraph explaining the history and significance of the School. That display, essentially all my own, went up for several weeks!
Another project I helped with recently is the new Roanoke College exhibit for our 175th anniversary, to be opened in the main gallery in a few weeks. Something that my supervisor was concerned about was having a lot of information for this exhibit, but not many objects to put up. He had me scour our archives, looking for every Roanoke College related item I could find. I searched through both our item and photo collections, compiling an ever growing list as I went. As it turns out, the Salem Museum had a multitude of Roanoke College items. We had anything from a former president’s top hat to old copies of the Brackety Ack to a panoramic photo of an entire class! (I will be uploading some pictures of a few of these items at the end). This was honestly one of my favorite experiences of the summer. Not only did I get to quietly rummage through our archives, I also got to see, touch, and learn about our wonderful college’s history.
While my internship has not necessarily been structured around one project or task, there has been some instances of continuity. For example, I have done multiple small, sporadic research ventures for various things like those I have detailed above. I did something similar for an antique grandfather clock that was donated to the museum, as well as with an inquiry into the old West Salem Auto Body Shop. I really enjoy these mini projects, for they allow me to independently research and navigate our archive collection.
Currently, I am working on my own exhibit as my final project. This will focus on Lake Spring Park, more commonly referred to as the duck pond, and its predecessor, Lake Spring Hotel. I have already compiled notes, again, using the research library’s resources, and created a list of all of our artifacts that I can use to furnish the exhibit. Now, all that is left is to create a write up and design the exhibit!
(This last picture is of some Roanoke College students at the top of Macafees Knob, just like some students do today!)