Volunteering at this Anthracite Heritage Museum this semester has been a great experience. While it was different due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I still had the opportunity to learn a lot of useful information that will benefit me in my future career. I am a senior History Major with a specialization in Public History at Misericordia University, and volunteering at AHM helped me learn about what goes on in a museum that visitors don’t see.
Throughout the semester, I did a lot of work on the Argus database. It was very interesting to learn about the process of cataloguing new objects and artifacts. I also really enjoyed learning about the accession and deaccessioning process. While volunteering with AHM, I was also taking an introductory course on public history. For a lot of the material we discussed in class, I experienced it first hand at the museum. This was very beneficial for me, because I was learning about it in class and getting hands-on experience at the same time.
One of the tasks I had while volunteering with AHM was reading through answers to a questionnaire that was sent out by the Lackawanna County Historical Society concerning the COVID-19 pandemic and how county residents have been affected. I read through the responses and determined keywords that came up often. I really enjoyed this because it is important to document and record exactly what we are experiencing this year. Future students, researchers, and historians will look back and wonder what we struggled with, how we adapted, and how we felt during the year 2020. By documenting the public’s responses, this will help those in the future understand our lives and what we went through this year.
Overall, volunteering at AHM was a great experience. I am grateful that I got the opportunity to do it and learn valuable information that will help me after I graduate.