Anthracite Heritage Museum 1/19/22-2/2/22

Kendall Williams

At my first week of my internship at the Anthracite Heritage Museum, I was given a brief overview of the collection, the exhibit space, the archives, and the general day to day activities that the curator preformed there. We began our work by fulfilling a small project for Proctor and Gamble, who reached out to the Museum for small exhibits featuring photos and information about prominent black historical figures from the Wyoming Valley.

As we continued the project on into the next week, and I assisted in putting together the photographs and information for the exhibit posters, which included scanning, printing, and arranging the items. I also learned more about the history of prominent black families from the area and on their individual communities. After we had finished the project, we moved onto parts of the collection that are displayed in the exhibit area.

The remainder of the second week following into the third week, I learned more about proper artifact care. We discussed how to properly handle artifacts, such as where to support them when picking them up, when to wear gloves, and how to clean the artifacts. In order to prepare for the museums reopening in the spring, we had to ensure that the artifacts in the exhibit space were cleaned.

I had the opportunity to work on many different artifacts, like a sculpture, machinery, and textiles. Proper care had to go into cleaning the artifacts, and it must be done gently. In order to prevent any damage to the items, I had to ensure that any built up dust from being on display was removed. This is to make sure that moisture is not attracted to any of the artifacts, which would cause rust or rot to occur. I also learned how to properly clean textiles, which is even more delicate than cleaning machinery.

My first few weeks served as a wonderful introduction to much of the work that a curator does; collection care and public outreach are very important in that profession, which is something I saw at the Anthracite Heritage Museum.

Exhibit on Sister Miriam Gallagher, RSM (1887-1966)

Sara Shields

For my internship this semester with the Sister Mary Carmel McGarigle Archives, my final project was a small digital exhibit on Sister Miriam Gallagher, RSM (1887-1966).

Sister Miriam Gallagher was a dedicated professor of literature, creative writing, library science, and romance languages at College Misericordia. At the college, she served as the Librarian from 1928 to 1938, the Publicity Director from 1930 to 1940, and as the Chair of the English Department for one term. Sister Miriam was known as a prolific writer and editor of national renown, having authored two of her own volumes, Love Is Enough: New and Selected Poems and Woven of the Sky. She also edited Cedar Chips by Father Patrick Augustine Sheehan. In addition to her own books, she was also heavily involved in the student literary journal, Thinker’s Digest, and served as its editor from 1940 to 1957.

In order to prepare for the exhibit, I wrote a biography on Sister Miriam, compiled objects that I wanted to include, and wrote the metadata for those objects. After I completed those tasks, Maureen (the MU archivist) introduced me to Omeka, a digital publishing platform.

I had previously learned of Omeka in the past, however, I had not utilized it myself yet. I was surprised at how incredibly user-friendly it was! Since I already had the metadata for the objects, entering them into Omeka was very simple. Here you can see a few of the fields required for the metadata:

The fields required included: the title, subject terms, description, creator, date, and item type.

Once I uploaded all of the items and completed inputting the metadata for them, I began to design the exhibit. I specifically wanted to focus on Sister Miriam’s writing career, so the items I included were scans of the covers of Love Is Enough and Woven of the Sky, as well as the covers of three volumes from the Thinker’s Digest. Since this exhibit was on a single case, it was small, but displayed the impact that Sister Miriam left on Misericordia.

This internship, especially this project, gave me valuable experience with digital exhibits and metadata standards. Omeka is widely used in the field of public history so I was happy to gain some experience with it, as well as learning about Dublin Core, the standard for metadata. This is my third digital exhibit that I’ve curated within my time at Misericordia, and each time I feel like I learn more and more.

You can view this exhibit on Sister Miriam Gallagher, RSM here.