Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Once again proving I am the worst at having a long-form blog.

I'm about to enter the sixth week of my internship, which means I haven't so much as thought about this blog in over five week.  Oops?  Typical Irina, really.

Aside from being very broke and a little bit lonely, summer has been going well for me.  This internship is kind of the greatest thing.  A lot of the time is spent goofing off, which I feel 50/50 about.  The thing is: of course I'm 21 years old, surrounded by other 20somethings, and we like spending time laughing at the news and finding Wikipedia pages for strange things like helicopter prison escapes.  But I also like being productive, which only one other intern has expressed interest in.  So I'm having a bit of a hard time with that.  But!  When I do get to be productive, it's just about the best thing in the world.

After my two weeks on the social media rotation, I was finally put into archives!  I spent two glorious weeks scanning lots of old stuff (Confederate bank notes, WWII war bonds, Revolutionary War supply grants) and updating entries on PastPerfect (this is the program most museums use to catalog their collections.)  Digitizing collections is something I find really important.  Yes, many collections are very safe now that there are all sorts of technologies to prevent fires, etc.  (The system at the museum is kind of scary.  It apparently sucks all of the oxygen out of the room, so it can definitely make you at least pass out if you ignore the warning bells.)  But there is also something important about access.  Not many people are going to travel to New York to view the archives at the museum - though we have had a couple walk-ins requesting to see our records for upcoming books.  The scans we're making now are eventually going to go up on Flickr, creating worldwide access to records but also informing many people that an actual museum exists for this stuff.  Cause let's face it, not many people come through this particular museum unless they have interest in the subject matter.

Anyway!  I am now on the third rotation - education and visitor services.  The interns thus far have created a massive Amazing Race-like scavenger hunt which is going to take place at the end of July.  Contestants will be given clues to help them identify Lower Manhattan landmarks where they must then race to receive more clues.  There is even a cash prize!  So my partner and I have inherited this project, and now we have to iron out all the hiccups.  The clues are a bit too difficult, in my opinion, and we don't really know yet how teams will get the next clues.  Plus we want to mix up clues so teams aren't just following each other around the city. And there was discussion of banning smart phones.

Although all of this is interesting, I was really happy to be allowed to get back into the archives last Friday.  I'm glad they recognized my complete incompetence in attempting to work out a scavenger hunt on my own.  Friday I was sitting with one of the 18th Century Collections boxes and a big book on early American money, trying to identify and appraise currency.  Life is kind of sweet.

And since this is no longer just an academic blog, here's some other cool stuff going on this summer.

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