Week 7 AHM

Amber Kelley, Anthracite History Museum, 2017Another week has passed here at the Anthracite Heritage Museum. This past week I have been practicing mounting photographs, in order to get me prepared to mount the photographs for the exhibit. Practice makes perfect! I practiced mounting two photograph on regular paper. The result of both tries were acceptable. Both of the photos once they were mounted had straight edges and did not touch the photos. There is only step of the mounting process I do not like — cutting the mounting board — because it seems that the strength to cut through the mounting board requires a lot more than I thought. So, I have to nail down the right amount of strength it takes to cut the board in order to not make indents into the board making the sides rough rather than smooth. Unfortunately, I was not able to get into any administration or educational projects this week due to the absence of one of my supervisors. So, for this week I was at the museum I worked on my poster project along with mounting photographs.

The progression of my poster project is coming along well. I have looked into three collections that the museum has. One collection named the Della Fabian collection has the most useful information that can assist me in my research. For instance, there are newsletters from the 1960s to the 1990s created by a Lithuanian ethnic organization that established committees across the United States. Hence, there are local ones such as the Anthracite Council, Scranton Council, Pittston Council, and so on. Some information that I found that is useful are the articles on the Soviet Union’s actions towards Catholic priests, parishes, etc. in Lithuania and the organization’s efforts to have American Lithuanian’s write to these people in order to give them strength and support. Along with these collections, I have access to two books written on the difficult time in Lithuania for background information in order to help me connect the dots. In all, I am pleased with the progress I have made thus far and I am excited to present my research in the fall.

Week 6 AHM

Amber Kelley, Anthracite History Museum, 2017Here at the Anthracite Heritage Museum, I am learning an interesting skill this week: mounting photographs for exhibits. The reason why I am doing this is because the curator at the museum is participating in an exhibit that is starting in August and ending in September. The exhibit is to showcase photographs of the DLW Railroads (aka Delaware & Lackawanna Railroad) and miners. Hence, the curator of Anthracite Heritage Museum is choosing photographs of miners working and breakers that the DLW owned. After the photographs were chosen for the exhibit, the curator took me through the process of mounting an image. The process is not simple, but rather tough and requires patience. The procedure is tough because in a few steps you are susceptible to touching glue that can damage objects in the event that one accidentally touched it. Also, the task requires one to cut the edges of the image, so there would not be any part of the mounting board showing. Thus, if one is cutting around the image he or she could unintentionally cut into the image and have to start the whole process over again. In all, the process of mounting an image is not an easy one to execute. After the curator showed me the process, I practiced mounting a regular piece of paper. At first, I was nervous because of the possibility of getting the glue on me that can ruin everything I would touch. However, I mounted the image and avoided getting the glue on me. Next week, I plan on practicing mounting a few images and then mount the chosen images for the exhibit.

At the museum, I will not be doing tours at the moment because there are not many at this time. Hence, I will not be able to strengthen my public speaking skill as much as I would like to. On the other hand, this month I will be changing gears and starting to do projects in the education and administration part of the museum; I am looking forward to that. I cannot wait to see what next week has in store for me!

Week 5 AHM

Amber Kelley, Anthracite History Museum, 2017This past week at the Anthracite Heritage Museum marks my first month working there. Since this past month, I have gained skills, such as public speaking, that are important for future careers and that more importantly have helped me become more confident in myself. There were no tours scheduled for this week, so unfortunately I couldn’t build on that skill. Yet, hopefully next week I will have the opportunity to do that. Another skill I have acquired is composing intriguing posters that can help me later on in my future career. Along with this, I have gained the skills to make gripping press releases to help bring a crowd to an event.

Additionally, this past month I have done curatorial tasks, such as cataloging, that are an important part of a curator’s job. Cataloging is analyzing a particular artifact and writing down its measurements, the materials that compose it, the item’s origins, and so on. The primary part of cataloging is the description of the artifact. In the description, one has to be exceedingly specific. For instance, this past week I cataloged a blanket donated from the family of a deceased doctor from the area. The blanket has a design on the two short sides of it and is not noticeable without taking the time to look keenly at it. Due to the importance of the description element of cataloging, many curators are not excited to sit down for a portion of time to analyze artifacts and then write it down.

Since I have been cataloging for the past month, I have enjoyed analyzing artifacts and cataloging them because in my opinion the objects are an important part of history. The items are important because they showcase a particular time period in which can inform someone a fact about that particular time. For instance, I cataloged a bottle of ether from a donated medical kit used by a doctor. As I cataloged the object, I got a look at the composition of a bottle of ether and how safety measures were handled at that time.  Accordingly because I like to analyze artifacts, catalog them, and would like to take care of them, I think I would enjoy being a curator. On the other hand, I also would like to become an archivist, so we will find out later on whether my mind is set on becoming an archivist or I decide to become a museum curator instead. Stay tuned…

Week 4 AHM

Amber Kelley, Anthracite History Museum, 2017Another week has flown by here at the Anthracite Heritage Museum. This past Monday, I did a short tour with one of the regular tour guides. She is a great tour guide who knows how to get the group involved with the artifacts and information being given. Additionally, not only is she able to do that but she has great public speaking skills. So, she is definitely someone I look up to in order to reach my goal of becoming a good public speaker. Later on that day, I presented to my boss my poster idea for an event happening at the museum in mid-July. He liked the poster and gave me a few ideas to improve it slightly. Along with looking over the poster idea, he read my news release and gave me a few suggestions in order to amend it.  So, I am excited to show him the new poster idea I have come up with and the polished press release. For the remainder of the day, I cataloged a small number of donated artifacts. Most of the artifacts were easy to catalog, one on the other hand was not. It was an interesting artifact that I couldn’t come up with the name of the item. I looked up the artifact on the internet, but was not successful; I asked the curator what the artifact could be and he did not know. Thus, I would be curious to know what that medical tool is and what it was used for.

 

Tuesday at the museum, I researched information for my poster project for the day. Most of the research I did was going through newsletters written by a Lithuanian group called the Knights of Lithuania. I learned a lot just by reading a small number of the newsletters. I learned a good number of information about the Soviet Union’s harsh treatment towards the Lithuanian population. For instance, one interesting fact I learned was that the Lithuanian people petitioned for Catholic priests to be let out of prison that caused a stir in the Soviet Union. As a result, Soviet Union officials went to great lengths to locate the Lithuanians that signed those petitions and put them in prison. Locating where the Lithuanians signers were was difficult because they did anything they could to not be found and avoid danger. It is saddening that the Lithuanians had to go through years of hiding and worry everyday about the possibility of facing danger. In the course of this research, I also came across general information that I did not know about. For instance, I discovered that Christmas cards came about in the early 1800s in London by an individual who wanted to make one unique card that he could send to anyone, rather than write one card for one individual. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this week and I am eager to see what next week has in store for me at the museum!

Week 3 Anthracite Heritage Museum

Amber Kelley, Anthracite History Museum, 2017This past week at the museum, I did two half-hour tours with two small groups of second graders. During that time, I faced a challenge that I was nervous, yet excited, to face. The challenge that I faced and will continue to face throughout my internship is public speaking. Public speaking is a challenge for me because I am not used to speaking in front of a crowd for a long period of time. So, after doing two tours I faced that challenge head on and have developed public speaking skills that will become stronger moving forward. I am eager to grow these skills and become more confident in speaking in front of a crowd and in myself.

Along with developing public speaking skills, the workers at the museum have made it easy for me too. They have made the environment welcoming for me in a way that I feel as though I have been there for a long time. As a result, I feel more confident and engage in my extroverted side. Due to this, I have met a worker that has similar interests in the Titanic and as a result, has shown me fascinating documents on the ship, the telegrams, the passengers, and so on. The documents have information about the ship that I was not familiar with and as a result, I have learned more about the “unsinkable” ship. I am blessed to be working alongside these individuals because they are making this internship a fulfilling experience.

Since one part of my internship is learning the museum jobs that are behind the scenes, I am going to start a project for an event that will occur in mid-July. It is a project that requires a press release and a poster. I am beyond excited to work on this project because I have never done a press release before and creating posters are fun and a great way to show one’s creativity. Most importantly, I am excited to do this project because that could possibly be something I would like to do for a career. Overall, this week was fantastic and I am eager to see what next week has in store!

Week 2 Anthracite Heritage Museum

This past Monday, I shadowed tours scheduled for that day. When I shadowed the tours, something I noticed is that there is not a set pattern each tour guide follows; every tour guide highlights different artifacts in the exhibit. Most importantly, I noticed that visitors are more engaged when the tour guides ask them questions either to test their knowledge or casual questions about activities individuals in the group like to do (that relates to the material of course).  Due to the understanding that visitors engage more when asked questions, I plan to ask questions and engage the group I have, rather than loading them a plethora of information and hardly attempting to engage the group.

Later on in the day, I was informed about the cleanliness of the museum’s exhibit and the supplies they use to clean the glass display cases, the information labels, and so on. During the time I cleaned the exhibit, I came across a display that presented a fact to me that I thought was interesting.

Anthracite Mining death toll 30,905

When anthracite mining was a well-paying job for many men, there were many deaths. The display states that there is a total of 30,905 miners that died from 1870 to 1993. The display supports the notion that many immigrant miners risked their lives each day to support their families after coming to a whole new world. This is interesting for me because I did not know exactly how many miners died from working in the mines, which has led me to respect former miners more.

On Tuesday, I shadowed a tour in the morning and gave a small portion of a tour. It did not go as well as I anticipated, but the volunteers and employees were positive about it and gave me pointers and guidance on ways to give tours. I appreciate their positive reassurance and willingness to help me become a better and effective tour guide for the visitors. For the rest of the day, I learned about what a museum curator does, the different job positions in a museum, and so on. Afterward, I started working on a project that the curator has planned for me to do. The project is to catalog an assortment of artifacts from a 1960s and 1970s medical utensil kit that a doctor used on house call. The artifacts I examined and cataloged are intriguing because they give an individual a glimpse of medical supplies that were in the 1960s and 1970s. Overall, this week at the museum was interesting and motivating to the point that I will be ready to give an engaging tour and look at more interesting medical supplies and tools.

Week 1 Anthracite Heritage Museum Internship

This past Tuesday at the Anthracite Heritage Museum I took a tour around the exhibit to gain an understanding of the different areas of the exhibit. The exhibit has different sections that take visitors into different points in this area’s mining history. For instance in a section of the exhibit titled “A Lifetime of Work”, there are displays of miners with terrible injuries, an example of a doctor’s examination room during the 1800s, different assortment of medical tools, and so on. These displays are meant to highlight the dangers of working in the mines and what medical equipment was available to heal any injuries inflicted on the miners. However, not every injury the miners suffered could be cured with the medical equipment at that time due to the loss of limbs and the limited ability of the equipment in that time period.

On my tour around the exhibit, I was informed about an important aspect of it, which is the many individuals that came from overseas to Northeast Pennsylvania for the anthracite business. Thus, there are displays of flyers, event postings, festivals, etc. created to honor a specific ethnic heritage in order for immigrants to maintain their cultural identity. For instance, a German festival in Northeast Pennsylvania that is still around today named Oktoberfest, which was celebrated originally in Munich, Germany.  The many cultures that came to Northeast Pennsylvania was largely due to the mining jobs that were available, and the idea that many immigrants could make a better life for themselves. Therefore, the many immigrants’ will to maintain their cultural identity in Northeast Pennsylvania is an important part of the museum.

Later on in the day, I shadowed a tour led by a volunteer at the museum who informed a group of fourth grade students about the tools miners used, facts about anthracite coal, the jobs that women and young girls had, the structure of a late nineteenth century home, etc. I shadowed a tour because a part of the internship is doing tours with groups of individuals. Afterward, I read information on the different artifacts in the museum, the history of the anthracite business in Northeast Pennsylvania, and different brochures on ways the public can support the museum. In the next few weeks, I anticipate to begin doing some tours after shadowing a few more tours and working on my poster project on cultural identity, which will explore how Lithuanian immigrants in the US strove to support Lithuanians when the Soviet Union occupied Lithuania.

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