I'd like to take this opportunity to reflect upon the past couple of months.
Going into this internship I had no idea what to expect. I just assumed I would be organizing and labeling things. Boy was I wrong. I remember first meeting Ken and Dawn (the acting president and vice president of the museum) at the storage unit, and when they opened the storage unit up I remember feeling completely overwhelmed and scared. But I took it, and I made it my own. I started by completely reorganizing the storage unit into something that made more sense. Special Collections are now on the left wall of the storage unit, Museum Exhibits take up the back left corner and the back wall, and Museum Supplies take up the back right corner and the right wall. This took approximately 2-3 weeks to do. By doing this I became extremely familiar with the entire collection in the storage unit.
After I organized the storage unit, I then took an initial inventory of the whole storage unit. I recorded this initial inventory in my finding aid. The next step was to take each Special Collection out of the storage unit and transport it to one of the RICHES offices at the University of Central Florida. It was here that I then conducted a more detailed inventory of each collection. I went through each and every box in each collection and made note of every folder, binder, newspaper, etc that I could. All of this was input into my finding aid. Another thing I did was move things around in each collection, so that they made more sense for future researchers. The collection that had the most reorganizing done to it was The Center Collection. I combined legal documents and records into a couple of boxes, and then I combined various publications into others. After I was done reorganizing this collection, I made note of the changes in my finding aid and I was even left with an empty storage bin! I was quite proud of myself for doing that.
After my inventory I had about 2 weeks left to the semester which I spent attempting to partially rehouse the Brian Arbogast collection (I say attempt, because I really only had a week since I had a wedding in CA to attend). I learned a lot when it comes to rehousing. I learned that most of the things we all do to store our photos and documents, is pretty much wrong. Binders are a big no no, so are staples, paper clips, and even those nice little plastic document holders. Metal leads to rust, and plastic document holders lead to moisture being trapped; thus aiding in further deterioration. In the rehousing process I also learned the importance of copying newspaper articles onto acid free paper, and discarding the original prints. In addition to all of that, I also learned how to create a cost analysis report both in Microsoft Word and Excel. Prior to this, I had very little experience with Excel; now I feel as if I can do anything in Excel!
I have been extremely grateful for this experience. I have learned so much about the archival processing experience. From organizing, to categorizing, to even partially rehousing a collection, I even got a taste of the administrative side, I have gotten a taste of what it is like to be a professional archivist. Even though at times it was a bit frustrating and overwhelming I have enjoyed the entire experience. Most importantly, in the process of all of my duties, I learned about the GLBT history of Central Florida. The region I have called home since I was 3 years old,. I have learned about a history I have not really known/thought of in much detail. Because of this internship I have gained a better understanding of the history of the GLBT community, and a much greater respect for those who came before me. I have come to respect those who have made significant strides so that I can enjoy my lifestyle the way I do now.
I'd like to thank Dr. Beiler for giving me the opportunity to apply for this internship, and being a constant guidance when I felt lost. I'd like to also thank Alan Lunin who was my acting supervisor during my internship. Though we did not meet as regularly as we probably should have, he still provided me with many words of encouragement when I needed them. Ken Kazmerski for constantly being on top of my e-mails, always quick to respond when I had a question; despite his having hip surgery. Dawn Rosendahl for also being quick to respond, and even meeting me at the storage unit. I'd also like to thank David Bain for taking time out of his schedule and meeting me to discuss the museum's digitization efforts. I would also like to send out a special thank you to Bruce Ground who provided me with information on his collection. I also would like to thank Bruce for donating his collection to the museum and giving me a chance to process his collection. It was such a uniqe collection of GLBT history that I will not soon forget. I also want to thank the rest of the GLBT History Museum of Central Florida for all that you do. I only wish the younger generation could appreciate not only our history, but the work you all have done to preserve it! Lastly, I want to thank my readers for reading my blog. I really did not think anyone would read this little thing, but I have been overwhelmed by the amount of readership, and even the students and faculty coming up to me and telling me that they enjoy my blog! It means the world to me! Thank you!.
For now I shall close the door on this chapter of my life and college career. I shall leave you all with a cheesey photo I took today as I returned the Brian Arbogast collection to the Storage Unit:
Until next time,
-Kyle the intern