Internship Reflection #2

I am enjoying the opportunity to witness and participate in behind the scenes meetings with the varied groups and individuals that are central to this project. Every week, my classmate and fellow intern (Holly) and I are invited to join a standing meeting with the staff members of GMU’s Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media about the progress being made on the History and Culture Access Consortium project. It feels like we are getting a valuable sneak peek into a wide range of elements regarding this endeavor: how to manage a project of such broad proportions, the contractor-client relationship, and the technological processes that are essential to the success of the project even in its earliest stages. I appreciate how well Holly and I have been welcomed into the team, and how we are continually included in project communications that aren’t necessarily directly related to our internship.

For example, a few weeks ago, Holly and I were invited to attend a Zoom meeting with the program managers from the five HBCUs involved with the project. This meeting was meant to allow for the exchange of techniques, ideas, and questions regarding the utilization of Omeka S and metadata. The uploading of items and metadata to the Omeka platform falls under the purview of the 5 institutions, but not necessarily under the scope of the RRCHNM (although the Center is indirectly responsible for the uploads since RRCHNM is responsible for guiding the institutions through the Omeka and metadata journey).

For our internship, Holly and I have been tasked with researching and thinking critically about one of the collections from the institutions, so in theory our attendance at the program managers meeting was not required or even directly related to our tasks as interns. However, it was still a valuable opportunity to further our understanding of Omeka S and metadata and I was excited that the project team at RRCHNM thought to include us; it would have been easy and understandable for the team to exclude us from this meeting, which made me appreciate it even more.  To ensure additional positive experiences like this one, I think it would be beneficial for me to voice my appreciation of our inclusion.

One of the realizations I’ve come to as a result of my experience with this internship thus far is how much I value regular, scheduled check-ins with team members. In my previous experiences working at museums, project meetings would occur on an as-needed basis, maybe once or twice a month. These meetings were more formal and structured, since they were relatively infrequent. In contrast, the HCAC meetings feel like a moment for team members to touch base with each other and solicit feedback regarding ideas or questions that can be pondered out loud during the meeting. This is something I hope to carry with me into my career after my time at GMU.

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