SLIS Student Shares Summer Internship Experience

SLIS Student Shares Summer Internship Experience

With summer approaching, SLIS students may be considering summer internships.  Second-year student Kristina Gavin recently related some of her experience last summer as an intern at the Archives Center at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

Gavin spent most of her time at the Archives Center in reference, where she was able to draw on her previous experience at the Hardin Medical Library reference desk.  

"The Archives collects materials relating to the American experience," Gavin explained. "Advertisements, scrapbooks, oral histories, jazz recordings, company records, burlesque dance costumes, photo albums from abandoned houses, pictures, maps … anything."

Despite all of the amazing items in the Archives vast collection, "Compressed shelving is the most impressive thing to people when they go behind the scenes in the archive," Gavin laughed.

Aside from reference work, Gavin also helped digitize items in the collection for visiting researchers.  She also helped with hosting a colloquium series for researchers as well as occasional special tours and events.  

Gavin was surprised to find that the Archives Center operates more like a small library than a large one.  "They do it all with a lot less resources than we think they do." 

She also was involved in a demonstration for visiting school teachers from New Mexico to use archives to teach their students how to conduct primary source research.  

"It was so valuable to go outside myself, my academic bubble, and do that extra thing,” Gavin said, adding, “It's so important to seek out these opportunities for enrichment and education outside of school.  Set yourself apart from everyone else graduating at the same time as you."

She recommends calling and talking to people at the organizations before you apply for any internship to find out more information, ask questions, and make a more personal connection.