Internship Reflection #5

When my internship first began, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect regarding the entire experience. I did, however, have an initial idea of of what the working environment would be like. Since the internship was fully remote, I imagined that I would be assigned a project by my internship supervisor/mentor, participate in weekly check-in meetings with said supervisor, and essentially conduct my research and work in isolation. Almost immediately I was surprised to find how wrong I was! While it’s true that my internship experience is fully remote, I’m lucky in the sense that I can participate in weekly meetings in-person if and when I choose.

A great example of this occurred last week when the HCAC team met up in D.C. and explored the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Together, we partook in a self-guided experience of the Museum, analyzing the content on display and the breakdown of information in the various exhibit spaces. We also discussed ways that the forthcoming NMAAHC HCAC website will supplement the brick-and-mortar museum experience, as well as potential experiences the website could offer to users that the in-person museum cannot. After our tour, a group of us moved to a café at the National Museum of American History to review next steps in the development of a metadata resource template that the RRCHNM will be sending to the five member HBCU institutions in the following weeks.

Again, this event is an exceptional example of how incorrect my initial ideas surrounding this internship were. Additionally, the day at NMAAHC speaks to another mistaken assumption — the assumption that my interactions with staff would be limited to one person at RRCHNM. From the beginning, I have been welcomed into the Center for History and New Media fold and have had the opportunity to work with and learn from the Center’s director, the HCAC project manager (who is a research assistant professor), and two graduate research assistants. The experiences and backgrounds of these four members is incredibly diverse and it’s been interesting to see the different perspectives they bring to the project. At times it feels like I’m getting a four-for-the-price-of-one deal when it comes to knowledge I get to carry away from this internship!

Looking forward to the second half of my internship, I’m expecting to take on additional responsibility within the HCAC team, especially since the project is beginning to escalate, with an expected beta launch by Spring of 2024.

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