For the thirteenth and final week of my internship, I finally managed to finish the names from the list sent to me. During this week I covered the years from 1869 to 1872. I thought that 1872 was important because this was the year before he died. My assumption is that Maxwell died really early in 1873, so that would explains its exclusion from the list. There really was not much to discuss from any of the findings. No new names or names of stores. Maxwell died in 1873, so it is likely he was not working as hard for the last five years of his life. That said I have no clear idea when he retired since there were very little names on the list during the 1870s. It was fitting that I managed to complete it in my final week. After I finished the list I told both Amanda and Dr. Black that I was finished. I sent the list to Amanda and then had to work on a reflection paper for Dr. Black. It only had to be one page long so it did not take too much time for me to complete. I also made sure to send out a thank you email to Amanda for allowing me to have an internship and to work away from Luzerne County. I loved looking through documents that were well over a hundred years old and trying to piece out information about a man who has been dead. Despite the setbacks from the pandemic, I still enjoyed my internship at the Luzerne County Historical Society. I would also like to thank Dr. Black again for helping me get this internship in the first place and further assisting me. As well as, Mr. Donahue too for telling me what to do for my internship when I knew it was time to start.
For week 12, I typed up the names from 1860-1868. As mentioned in last week’s post, I was rather miffed that I could not look through the files during the Civil War. I have no way of knowing what Maxwell did during the Civil War, but it seems that he might have been rather busy. Not busy in the sense of fighting since this is also close to the end of his life, but more in terms of work. The files from 1860-1865 have a lot more names on them. I have no idea if these are from the family members of those killed during the war trying to ask for insurance, as well as his friends discussing the war. As well as the political occurrences like the Emancipation Proclamation. I am a little upset that I may never be able to look through any of these documents, but I am at peace with this. The years after the war had less content in comparison. Granted that’s not to say that there were very few, 1868 had a pretty large sample. 1868 might have been the last time Maxwell ever worked full time since the following years have even fewer names. Then again it could be since it was three years after the war ended, so perhaps business started to pick up again considering the fewer amount of content implied on the document. There were no notable new names that I could see, just the same coal and mining companies as before. Not to mention, the same banks and insurance companies as before. I figured that the insurance companies would have a couple of documents during each year of the Civil War addressed to Maxwell. At the time of this writing, I have finished the entire list and the following week’s post will be about my reflection paper.
On Wednesday, I finally managed to complete the folder for 1833. One of the more interesting things that I examined was that Maxwell had been in correspondence with John Dement. Dement was the Treasurer of Illinois at the time the letter was written. I could not make out the writing of the letter, but it was interesting to see that Maxwell had been talking to someone from a faraway state like Illinois. Although after some research I did learn that Chicago was founded that year, so it is possible the letters relate to that notable point. As to why Maxwell was invested in that, I have no idea. On Friday, I began to work on the folder for 1834. One document that I noticed was that Maxwell was still in charge of the finances of Ebenezer Bowman’s estate long after he died. It is also possible that Maxwell had been working with a relative of Ebenezer named Issac. It is likely that Isaac was Ebenezer’s son who inherited the estate following his father’s death. What was also interesting is that the letter mentions the year he died, 1829, was a year of political struggle. The struggle was between James W. Bowman (possibly Isaac’s brother) and George Dennison against the administration of someone named Thomas W. Miner. I could not find any information about Miner, so I am unsure of what kind of political role he had like mayor or district attorney. However, I thought it was important to bring up as it did provide a brief amount of information regarding the history of the county. Finally, on February 22, I managed to get as much work done for the 1834 folder as I could. Most of the documents I looked at were financially based as usual, and I could not make out anything as interesting as the previous days. With that said, I plan to finish the 1834 folder by Wednesday of next week and start the next box too.
During the first week of my internship at the Luzerne County Historical Society, I quickly understood what was expected and what my assignment would be. My assignment is to review old documents that belonged to a man named Volney Maxwell. Maxwell was a lawyer and one of the earliest members of the historical society in the 1800s. On Wednesday, and the first day of the internship, I was not fully introduced to the materials I needed to use. Amanda Fontenova, the curator, wasn’t in the office. Instead, I worked with another employee named Mark Riccetti. That day I decided to look up some information regarding Mr. Maxwell. What I learned was that he gave two lectures in 1858, which were published in the society archives. There was also the fact that society’s headquarters used to be his widow’s home. On Friday, I began to work with Amanda. She told me that I needed to look through the upstairs archives and go through folders inside these boxes that contained all documents Maxwell kept over the years. As I sifted through old documents, I did my best to decipher the old fashioned penmanship and type a brief description of what each was about. Most of them were letters from his legal partners like Ebenezer Bowman, who I learned was a veteran who participated in the Battle of Bunker Hill. There were even some letters from two people who were a part of the Continental Congress: Samuel Meredith and Tench Coxe. Meredith was a prominent merchant at the time who later became George Washington’s Secretary of the Treasury, and Coxe was an economist. I ran into some financial statements and land deeds as well. On Friday, I managed to complete the first folder which ranged from 1804-1809. The next day, I began to work on the second folder of the first box. By the time I had left, I only had two remaining years left, 1818 and 1819. During my first week, I learned the ropes of what I am expected to do as well as testing my reading and deciphering skills (paleography), since the writing style of the period made it difficult to figure out the documents.
Immediately after I got back from the staff retreat in D.C, I was pushed right back into my daily routine of school. The VHA digital media team decided to cancel the staff meeting and they gave me time to reflect on what I liked about the trip and what could be changed.
But I still did some work that week: I submitted my PowerPoint on how to improve the internship program, I answered two staff members’ email requests, and attended an Equitas training seminar.
This last week, I attended the staff meeting and turned in the meeting minutes. We briefly discussed the trip and everyone’s time off, and who would cover for whom. I was selected to review the social media comments for Facebook and Twitter, which is super exciting.
I was also chosen to review and formulate a spreadsheet of weekly reports for all of 2019’s social media. I will collect data and produce a report with averages and what worked and what didn’t. I will officially start that in the next few days.
Also I am super excited for a possible upcoming project which would be going to the Wilkes Barre VA Medical Center and taking photos and videos. I did a one hour training session on video editing on the retreat and Matthew thought that he could work this out.
Also in the future I will be attending a seminar on Social Studio, which is another social media data resource.
This internship has been nothing but an amazing experience, and I look forward to future projects.
This week at the VA and around the US, we celebrated Veteran’s Day. Not only am I interning with the VA, but most of my family are active military or retired veterans. Throughout my life, it was these family members that I would look up to and aspire to be, although I never had the desire to join the military.
Below are photos of some of my family members, not including My grandpa (Army) or my uncle Jimmy (Reserves). My Aunt Shelly met my Uncle Sid in the US Navy, and now their son will be joining within the next year. My brother wanted to make my grandparents proud so he joined the Army Reserves soon after high school. My dad too, wanted to follow suit of his parents and joined the Army after high school. He was stationed in Korea and in Germany before being medically released. My grandma served four years in the Air Force and my grandpa served in the Army and was an MP on base for a while, when released my grandma fell in love with photography and my grandpa became high ranking in a local police department. My Uncle Steve and Uncle Jimmy still serve in the Army reserves and get stationed overseas often. My Great grandpa served in WW2 and I actually never had the chance to meet him.
My cousin Timothy wanted to follow after his dad and joined the US Air Force, he is currently stationed in Italy. My uncle Bill, Air Force, just recently moved back from the US from Italy, but before he moved back he had to get home from Kandahar.
It was my uncle Bill who let me live on base with him in Italy for several months, to travel to Germany and France.
In support of Veterans Day the VA made several blog posts and various posts on social media, and in my meeting we went around to those who weren’t there last week and discussed their military ties.
This week I attended the meeting and got the notes published on time. I am still waiting to hear back if I have the okay to go to DC next semester. I was also selected to participate in a data entry project and a research project. I accepted both projects, one will be due next week and the other will be ongoing. I also was able to submit my family members photos and information to maybe be nominated for Veteran of the Day on the VA website! My uncle Bill was chosen but since he is still serving he was not eligible, I am submitting my Grandma, in honor of her passing, next.
During this week of my internship, I attended the weekly staff meeting as scheduled and produced the meeting minutes within the 24 hour deadline. I tracked my process through the group’s Trello board as instructed.
During the meeting they discussed Employee surveys for their previous year that ended Sept. 30th. They use these surveys to see what the supervisors are doing right and wrong and to see what in the office can be improved to lessen stress.
Also, they use the surveys to decide what their goals for this year will be. They have different goals for specific tasks, such as leadership, media, etc. The team works together to compile a list of goals and they narrow the list down to just 10 goals.
The team has various huddle meetings to breakdown goals and projects and they typically last an hour and meet once a week. They just created a huddle for all the team members related to students, intern or volunteer work so they can brainstorm projects and not take up time in the weekly meeting.
The weekly meeting always ends in a round robin where everyone says what they are working on or important dates coming up. They include the interns in this, so this is where I reached out to my supervisors and told them about the midterm assessment.
This week went by quick and I continue to look forward to the next weeks.
This week in my internship I officially took the notes for the Digital Staff meeting. I was unsure on how it was going to work because I was on the phone with 13 people and I am uncomfortable with voices to names still. I was afraid I was going to miss something important or be asked a question I did not know the answer to.
Before the meeting took place, I personally reached out to David to see if we can do a roll call so I can hear the name to the voice again. He was more than happy to request this at the beginning of the meeting. He also sent me the agenda for the meeting along with an outline. I was very appreciative for his help and I feel more comfortable reaching out to him in the future.
The meeting went smoothly and I was able to follow along. I typed the minutes up and sent them to David to be checked over and resubmitted. He was impressed that I was able to put names to the voices and only had me do one name change correction.
We also discussed more projects that include research and a written explanation on the benefits and negatives of one mega social media page or several mini pages. So I look forward to being involved in more projects.
Lastly, I was given a culture lead that I can reach out to at anytime if I have any questions or concerns about how the VA or the digital media team operates. I am going to introduce myself with in the upcoming week. I would have this week but the staff had a very important meeting presentation and they needed all hands on deck.
So far I am continuing to enjoy this internship and I appreciate how nice and welcoming everyone is thus far.
Hi all!! It has been a while since I last posted anything. Since last fall, I have busy with classes and …surprise, another internship. Last spring, I was offered an internship at the National Federation of the Blind in Baltimore, MD. For six weeks, I lived and worked at the National Federation of the Blind, getting to know that amazing institution and the amazing people that work there. As you are probably wondering, the NFB is an association for blind people run by blind people and the majority of their workers are blind. The uniqueness of this opportunity was that I not only worked in the archives but also got to learn what it is like to be blind and how people cope with blindness. The core philosophy of the NFB philosophy is that blindness cannot stop you from achieving your dreams. With practice and determination, blind people can do anything they want. During this experience, I also learned how to interact with blind people and learn that people can achieve anything despite their disability.
As for the level of work I did, throughout the six weeks, I redid their magazine archives and updated their current magazine rack, part-took in research on archiving specialized tactile maps, and also continued on a their photograph project which is a project that is taking many years to complete. The reason why it is taking years to complete is due to the fact there are over 15,000 photos in the collections and each of them need to be individually catalogued and archived. This painstaking process will most likely continue for years to come due to the nature of the work. During the time I was there, I was able to travel to some amazing historical sites and other places around the Inner Harbor area of Baltimore. Thanks for reading! Below are some pictures of my time in Baltimore.
Week two of my internship was a wonderful experience, to say the least. This week I spent my time having one on one meetings with the Digital Media team.
I was able to learn so much about everyone individually and learn about the overall team and what they do. I learned that on average they post twice an hour over several different social media platforms, containing useful information, videos, and news updates throughout the day.
My first meeting was with Suzanna, who is the director of the team. After talking briefly I had a better understanding on how meetings are handled and what is the best way to manage time when working with others in different states. I was more than happy to hear her say that she would put me on some of her projects throughout the year.
I was also officially assigned my first ongoing task which is their weekly staff meeting. I will be typing the minutes and handing them in within 24 hours.
My team Leader David will pass out assignments via email as they arise and we interns are in charge of posting them and tracking until completion.
I was also invited to a Facebook-like communication system called Slack Lighthouse where I could be in contact with the other interns and 12 team members throughout the day to ask any questions or post about my assignments.
I learned that I could reach out to literally anyone on the team for help or to ask any questions. The team produces their best work because they mesh together in a perfect harmony. I reached out to Blake, another team leader, to get more information on details about assignments and was told I could ask for more at any time if I wanted or could handle it.
Over all week two was successful and I can not wait for the next meeting!