NFB week six

Gina close up, 2017It is my last day here at the National Federation of the Blind. I am sad to be leaving but also excited to be going home. My supervisor, Anna, told me this morning that I am more than welcome to come back next summer if I would like to; I might just take her up on that offer. I have really enjoyed my stay here in Baltimore. I have loved the work I have been doing in the library, and I have loved the people I have been working with. This morning I had a meeting with President Riccobono, just to go over how my internship went, how I felt about it, and if there was anything that I felt the organization could do more of. I am going to miss the work that I have been doing, the people, and the organization once I leave.

This week in the library though, I finished rehousing some of the pictures I have been working on. I have boxed some more periodicals, and I have been listening to some more oral histories. The oral histories are my favorite thing to do that Anna has given me; I get to learn about the NFB, but also I get to hear someone else’s story about their childhood and how they became involved with the NFB. Most of the stories I have heard, from the members of the federation, are those who have been blind since birth. There are a few that I have heard though, where they have become blind later in their lives, which is fascinating to hear about.

Overall, I have loved this internship experience. I got to live in a beautiful city, which I absolutely love, and I have gotten to work with some of the nicest people I have met. I have made friendships with the other interns which I know will last. I could not be more grateful that I had this opportunity, and hopefully I can come back next year and take Anna up on her offer!

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…

NFB week five

Gina close up, 2017Week five here at the National Federation of the Blind has just ended and it is really hitting me that I am entering my last week here. I have loved this experience for the past several weeks, and the friends I have made here. This past weekend Kenia and I went to see Luke Bryan in concert, so it was an awesome last weekend here. The girls and I have been talking about me visiting them before their internships are over in August, which I am very excited about. I know I have made lifelong friends.

As for my internship, things have been going well as usual in the library. This past week I finished entering the tenBroek collection into the libraries database. After that I relabeled all of the boxes from the collection from unprocessed to processed, which Anna provided the template for. Working with the tenBroek collection I have learned that Dr. tenBroek kept EVERYTHING. He kept things that did not have to do with the NFB. The collection was given to the library from his son, so I guess his son just gave everything he could find to the library. In this case, I think that was a good idea because then we can see how he thought or what he even liked to do in his spare time. Some of the collection was letters and personal items of his wife, Hazle tenBroek.

After I finished with the tenBroek collection, I went back to rehousing the NFB photo collection. Most of the photos are from Conventions throughout the eighties, like I stated last week. I did however, find some pictures of Hazle tenBroek and some more pictures of Stevie Wonder.

I also spoke to Anna about graduate school. I noticed on her office wall that her Master’s degree was from Simmons College and that is one of the places where I want to apply to for my Master’s. Speaking to Anna really helped in my decision to apply there, as I was not too sure about it. I cannot wait to pursue a Master’s degree in Library Science.

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!

NFB week four

Gina close up, 2017My fourth week is at an end here at the National Federation of the Blind. As the weeks grow shorter, I am more reluctant to leave for home. I have found myself loving the area that I am in more and more, and I hope one day I am fortunate enough to come back to Baltimore. Inner Harbor is my favorite place to be, and I went on the water taxi and found some other cute little towns also that I fell in love with. I have gotten to visit so many places in these several weeks I have been here such as, the National Aquarium, the Maryland Zoo, Little Italy, and Fort McHenry.

This week in the library I worked on rehousing old photographs from the 1980s. The binders that they were in were old and falling apart, so Anna (the archivist) asked if I could take them out, put them in separate folders, and then in boxes. I really enjoyed doing that because I had the opportunity to see the history of the NFB, from National Conventions, to even finding a picture of Stevie Wonder receiving an award. That was an amazing find for me because I absolutely love Stevie Wonder as a musician. Being able to see some of the older members of the NFB was exciting; I had heard stories about Jim Gashel through Anna and the interns, and I got to see pictures of him at the Conventions.

I also worked on the tenBroek collection once again. After that, I began to rehouse some of the different periodicals Anna has in the library, one of them being The Jewish Braille Review. I had to organize them and then put them in boxes and label what the boxes had in them. I am really enjoying my time here, and I am sad to see it go by so fast!

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.

NFB week three

Gina close up, 2017Time is flying by here in Baltimore. It is the end of my third week here at the National Federation of the Blind and I am continuing to love it here. I feel as though I have become a part of a small close knit family. The other interns and I have continued to grow closer, as our Moe’s runs and Grey’s Anatomy marathons are things we have been doing together. It is only the second week with the other interns, but I feel already that we are going to be friends long after this internship is over.

This week we had an all staff meeting on Monday with the President. At the meeting I met some of the other workers that I did not have a chance to meet my first week here. Also, they discussed the National Convention and the plans they have for it this year. Now that I am here, I wish I had a chance to attend Convention, but I have other responsibilities at home. I have been learning this week more about the philosophy of the NFB and the reasons that Convention happens every year. I have read some speeches from the past presidents of the NFB such as, Jacobus tenBroek, Kenneth Jernigan, and Mark Maurer. Their words are so powerful and really speak to you. I had the chance to meet Mark Maurer and speak to him, and from the ten minutes I was with him, I could tell that all he wanted to do in life was to help the NFB and make changes in the world for people with disabilities.

For this week, I continued with my work on the Jacobus tenBroek collection. I also listened to several other oral histories and made interview logs for them. As I said last week, this internship has helped me to determine and reinforce that the field I want to pursue in life is museum/ library work, concentrating more on the archival aspect of it. I am so excited for the last three weeks of my internship!



NFB Week Two

Gina close up, 2017It is the end of my second week here at the National Federation of the Blind. This week has been very eye opening for me. Going into this I knew some things about the blind, but when my fellow interns arrived  on Sunday, I learned so much more. Over the past week, myself and the other interns, Kenia, Lillie, Vee, and David have gotten to know each other better, and bonded. They are teaching me just in this week things I did not know about the blind, and just about life in general. They all have positive outlooks on life, and it really is an inspiration.

In the library this week, I have been working on the Jacobus tenBroek collection and entering files into the libraries database. I have also worked on rehousing some copies of the Braille Monitor and Dialogue. Working on the tenBorek collection is a great experience for me, as I get to learn more about who Jacobus tenBroek was as a person, but also about the work that he wanted to achieve while President of the NFB. This weekend at the NFB there is a student seminar going on, and many student members have arrived already. I am looking forward to get to know some of them over the short period this weekend. I have helped to prepare some books that have to be shipped to Convention in July. During this time, I had the pleasure of meeting President Riccobono’s wife, Melissa. She is such a sweetheart and I am glad I got the opportunity to meet and talk to her. I am really looking forward to the rest of my time here at the NFB, as this experience has already proven to me that I want to have a career in the archival field. I have fallen in love with the city of Baltimore in the two short weeks I have been here, and could not be more happy with my decision to intern at the NFB.

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.