Tuesday, September 30, 2014

What I Did Last Summer, Guest Blog by Tyler Vanice

Tyler Vanice is a History major (class of ’15) and Public History minor. In this guest blog post, he writes about his summer job working in public history.  His job built upon his 2013 internship with the George Washington Masonic National Memorial. Learn more about Daemen's many internship opportunities here


Tyler Vanice

ByTyler Vanice:

Last year I was accepted into the Washington Internship Institute and interned at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Alexandria, VA. This spring, the Curator and Executive Director of the Memorial called me and offered me a job since they had liked my work as an intern. I couldn’t hold my excitement when I heard the news. I told them that I still have another year of school as I interned a year earlier than most people (in my sophomore year) but they were happy I was willing to work at least for the summer.

Some of my work this summer was tedious – like the weeks-long project of digitizing records from one Masonic Lodge. It was a long process that included chopping off the spines of the books, then feeding the pages into a machine, and waiting for the machine to complete its optical character recognition (OCR). This process was not difficult, but it was time-consuming. I learned the hard way to always make sure that the computer settings were correct when I had to rescan 120 books after I did not notice that the settings had changed. 

When I had finally finished digitizing, I was finally able to do the work I enjoyed the most, which was cataloging and inventorying the Memorials collection. The museum had received a large collection containing thousands of items from the Masonic Service Association (MSA). This included correspondence and various records dating back to the early 1920’s. These records were rescued from destruction; the MSA was clearing space to make room for new management and the records were being discarded before the Curator of the Memorial intervened. There was so many items that we didn’t know what to do with them so we left the project for another time. I was able to do a basic inventory before we quit. 
Artifacts awaiting processing

For the last month of my stay I was asked to sort and organize the file room for the Memorial since it had become a mess. I did not know what I got myself into when I agreed to take the task; it took me weeks to complete. I finished just in time for a researcher to use the room. 

I never realized how tiresome it is to work in a museum! I was told that when working in a museum, a person wears many hats and I found that out the hard way! I had enjoyed my experience down in D.C. just as much as I did the year before. I always enjoyed working with artifacts and being able to “play” with history. It was exciting to work alongside the Curator of the Memorial in all the projects that needed to be done.

D.C. is a marvelous place to be and I recommend everyone who has never visited should do so. For a person who enjoys working in museums, I sure had found the right place! The area offers a lot of history and places to visit; from the National Mall to George Washington’s tomb, D.C. offers a little bit of everything to everyone.

From researching, to cleaning, to stripping wax off the floors, I accomplished a lot over the summer. After working hard all summer and walking up the hill for work in the 90+ degree weather every day, I can say I had fun and enjoyed my experience as much as my first time I went down.  And in the end, it was worth all the work because I heard the magic words that everyone wants to hear; “I’d like to have you back next year.” 

It is a great relief to know that after I graduate from Daemen, that I will have a job waiting for me. D.C. offers a lot of different opportunities and I have the Washington Internship Institute to thank for giving me the chance to leave Buffalo and experience a new world.

Photos courtesy of Tyler Vanice

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Today our blog reached the milestone of



Thank you for visiting our blog and helping make news for the History & Political Science Department since June 2013.