Interning at The McKinley Presidential Library and Museum MS301

Listen here! ↓

I began my internship in late August of 2018 at the McKinley Presidential Library & Museum in Canton, Ohio.

I didn’t really know what to expect or what I would actually do, but I knew that this was something that I wanted to try out and see if it was right for me. I found that it was.

Walking into the museum doors and going into the library, I know that I am always going to be doing something that I love. I am always excited when I arrive because it is so wonderful to finally get hands-on experience with working in archives.

One of the first aspects of working in the archives that I learned to do was how to digitize different materials of 2-D objects. I even created a flow chart for how to do it so that other people can do it too with easy to follow steps. I still do this and I help other people create them. We want flowcharts for the future and for people to be able to easily follow each step of the different processes for projects. Our goal is to help people always and we try to do the in a way that is easiest for them to understand.

The environment at the library is so welcoming and wonderful. Everyone is so incredibly nice and willing to help you with anything you’re having troubles with, especially issues with technology. I have met most of the volunteers, all are so nice and helpful, and it is interesting that they have different backgrounds. This aspect of the volunteers is great to have in the archives because everyone has different ideas and experiences, which provide insight into various areas that other volunteers might not have. Teachers, library science majors, counselors, etc. are just some of the backgrounds of the volunteers. I love that we are such a diverse team of volunteers and researchers.

I’ve also learned that working in the library isn’t just staying in a room all day. It is about communication and working with other people within the museum. We work with Kim Kenney, the curator, and many times, we work with IT and maintenance because not everything goes smoothly when it deals with needing wifi or trying to get the printer to work. It is really cool that our projects help other departments too. People in the museum, working there, always want to know what new project we’re working on and it is so fascinating to watch how excited they are to see new pictures or slideshows. I love seeing just how important we are, not only for the museum, but also as a community resource as we are also the Stark County Archives. Currently, I am in the process of my own project in the library to help people understand what we do, why we do what we do, and how they can help. I’m so excited to really be apart of something that could be life-changing for how people view the research library.

As of now, I have helped to finalize some projects that have been going on since 2005. The McKinley Correspondence is a project that has been long overdue and I’m proud to say that I’m on the team that is finishing it. It took a lot of time and effort and it feels really good to be able to see our results come to light. Sarah, the intern from Malone University, and I are also working on digitizing the McKinley Photographs, of which there is a lot of. We have finished some small aspects of the project and slowly working our way up the chain to some of the bigger piles in the collection.

I’m really proud to say that I have found a place where I belong and I hope that I stay here for a long time, even as a volunteer. As for the fall 2019, I plan on scheduling out time so that I can volunteer on days I don’t have classes. It won’t be an internship, but I’ll be doing something that I really love and that’s what is worth it. If you really love what you’re doing, it doesn’t feel like work and I truly feel like that at the library.

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