MU Archives Week 1

Sara Shields

This semester I am interning with the Sister Mary Carmel McGarigle Archives here at Misericordia. I’m very excited to learn more about archives and gain experience on what exactly archivists do. This week we’ve started off with some readings on memory, and the symbolic significance of archives. This material is familiar to me after taking HIS 341: Introduction to Public History last semester. I recognize a lot of the terms and definitions, so having taken HIS 341 last semester is really helpful. In addition to those readings, I have also been learning about finding aids, arrangement, and description. The readings that I have been assigned are very helpful and explain these terms in a practical manner. Description and arrangement are important because first, you must determine and explain the context and content of your material, and then arrange it in a way that exhibits a pattern among the material. The purpose of arrangement and description is to promote access to your materials. Finding aids are also important in this process, as they help your audience find information and material.

I have also been creating posts for The Center for Nursing History of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s Facebook page. The University Archives holds this collection to collect and provide access to the history of the nursing profession in Northeastern PA. It’s been very interesting to go through the collection and have the opportunity to ask the members of the Facebook page questions about the photographs. I am very excited to hear their answers to my questions! Social media is a good way to reach your audience and engage with them, especially in a time like this.

Overall, this week has been great and I’m excited to experience and learn more about archives!

NFB Internship – Summer

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.