I was an unpaid intern at the Root House Museum. My time there started in August, while the house was still dressed for summer. The first month at the Root House, I was given a docent manual and became acquainted with everyone that worked there at the time. I was given a lot of freedom with my time spent there. The executive director allowed me to choose what I spend my time doing as an intern at the Root House. I was provided access to resources that the museum already had, and then the rest of time was independent research. The atmosphere at the museum is very easy-going; help with projects was always requested and never pressed.
I think this the benefit that comes from working with a museum that relies somewhat heavily on volunteer work- the executive director and program coordinator avoid asking too much from their unpaid workers. Although I requested not to lead museum tours, I sat in during some of them to learn more about what a docent has to do as well as the typical visitors to the Root House Museum. Most of the visitors that I saw while I was there were either retirees or school aged children.
Aside from research and giving tours, a lot of the work at the museum involves arranging furniture and prepping for events. The room exhibits change almost every month, so furniture and décor have to be carefully moved around and arranged. The museum will host events, usually as an avenue to raise more money, and this also involves arranging tables and decorations in the garden. Otherwise, if you’re on the clock you might be asked to help sweep and dust. The Root House Museum is a good place for potential interns that want quiet, self-driven work. The other draw of the Root House is that the exhibits there touch a broad amount of subjects. The museum represents history, local history, business in 1800’s, the middle class during the 1800’s, horticulture and pharmacy, race, religion and gender. There are a lot of opportunities at the Root House for deeper studies into any of these subjects and more. The Root House Museum has connections to other local historians, other museums, and other historical societies. This museum is actually a very good place for people looking to make connections with other historical museums. It’s also a good place to learn how smaller scale museums maintain their exhibits, and turn out a profit.
The drawbacks of the museum start with the fact that internships will be unpaid. People who want more direction in their work, especially people who need consistent feedback, may not find the Root House as relaxing as I did. The days spent at the Root House are very slow, and some people need an environment where they constantly have something do and this just isn’t an environment that will keep anyone on their toes. Also research projects involve dead ends and this can be potentially frustrating for some people.
For my last fall semester at KSU, I interned at the Museum of History and Holocaust Education right here at the university. I worked with their curator Adina Langer researching and helping with upcoming projects for the museum. There I learned how much effort went into each exhibit that was on display within the museum. Working at the museum proved to be a very fast paced and on the go environment especially when October rolled around, as that was when field trips from school would be scheduled to visit for tours. There were quite a few tours going on every week and the museum staff would often be out of the office visiting school with traveling trunks or mobile exhibits.
I also helped with giving tours, but as a support role. I aided the docent giving the tour and assisting children with their work. I also transcribed an interview that was part of the ongoing project at the Museum of History and Holocaust Education called the Legacy Series Oral History Program. I was also working on setting up exhibits by researching information, helping create panels, and setting up display cases which . I also tried to participate in many of the events they had going on such as their docent training, where they trained volunteers to be docents, and home school day, where children who are home schooled are visiting.
This was an amazing experience that I would recommend for others to do if they have the opportunity. I felt that working at the museum helped hone my research skills and let me see how I could potentially apply them in a workplace. I also learned a lot about the dynamics of a work environment for a museum and what it takes to be successful. Everyone I worked with was very nice and very knowledgeable in their work. If you decide to work here do try to interact with everyone, don’t be afraid to ask questions, and participate in events!
This summer I interned at Bulloch Hall in
Roswell, GA. The site is located near the Roswell Mill, and was the childhood
home of Mittie Bulloch, the mother of former president Theodore Roosevelt. The
site showcases the Bulloch home as well as a garden, slave quarters, privy,
carriage house, and two wells. Visitors can explore the grounds and learn about
Roswell, GA, The Bulloch family, Theodore Roosevelt, and the way of life in the
Gwen Koehler, the Director of Education at
Bulloch Hall, along with her coauthor Connie H., have published three books
containing letters that the Bulloch family exchanged during the 19th
century. The books contain letters
telling the story of the love affair between Mittie Bulloch and President
Theodore Roosevelt Senior leading up to their wedding, the civil war, the couple’s
move to Thee’s hometown in New York along with Mittie’s mother, and the
hardships that the family faced during this time. These three books include
letters between 1854 and 1864. For my internship I read, analyzed, transcribed,
and digitized letters that were written between 1865 and 1869. My college experience has involved printed
textbooks and academic articles written by scholars, so it has been an
interesting experience working with handwritten letters. Not to mention these
letters are written in cursive with a fountain pen and inkwell, which now seems
to be a lost art. After all of the letters are transcribed, Gwen and her
coauthor Connie M. Huddleston will start the editing process and publish a
fourth book containing letters written post 1965. In addition to transcribing
letters, I had the opportunity to meet many docents (volunteers) at Bulloch
Hall as well as some of the members of the different guilds that meet on the
site such as the Gardeners Guild. During the middle of July Bulloch Hall hosts
Camp Rough Riders, which is a day camp for kids ages 6-10 to come learn about
the Bulloch and Roosevelt families, and do crafts relating to the time period.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Bulloch
Hall and wish that I could do it all over again. Being a student that is mostly
interested in physical anthropology, I wasn’t sure what to expect while
interning at a place that was more historically and culturally focused, but it
was one of the best opportunities I have ever had. The ladies that work in the
administrative office at Bulloch Hall rave about Kennesaw Students, and really
know how to make you feel welcome. I did not feel like an intern while working
at Bulloch Hall, I felt like family.