Ever wonder what it’s like to be a part of a small museum team? Clarissa got to find out as our Archival Intern during the Fall 2017 semester. Here’s what she wanted to share about her experiences.

“As an Archival Intern at the Virginia Beach Surf & Rescue Museum, I was able to further develop my knowledge and skills regarding various preservation techniques, organizational methods, record retention practices, cataloging, and historical research. I was tasked with cataloging the museum’s research files into a database that would make these files accessible to researchers, museum staff, and volunteers.

It was daunting at first. I felt overwhelmed and motivated all at the same time. I began by developing a spreadsheet which contained basic identifying elements for the documents and photographs in the research files. After I decided how I would differentiate and identify the records, I turned my attention to the physical files. I was eager to discover the information held within the multi-colored folde

In the beginning, I knew little about Virginia’s coastal history, but I learned more about it throughout my internship. I pored over each document to garner a better understanding of its contents and relation to the museum’s mission. By d

oing this, I deepened my understanding of the terms, historical context, and relevance of the information presented on these documents. Because I became so well acquainted with the contents of these files, I was able to index these documents and photographs in a clear, concise, and consistent manner which will make the database easier for future users to navigate.

I spent hours mulling over these research files and became well-acquainted with them throughout my time as an intern. Overall, I cataloged about 1,500 documents and photographs.

I also assisted with other museum operations such as conducting research and creating props for the “Rum to the Rescue” exhibit. I liked that I was able to dabble in other departments. It gave me a more detailed understanding of all the work that goes into forming new museum exhibits.

Overall, my time as an intern gave me the knowledge, skills, and confidence to pursue a career in Archival Studies. I feel more prepared to conquer the chaotic world of the archives.”

This fall, Clarissa will start a Master’s program in Library and Information Sciences, with a focus on archives. We’re excited to see where her career takes her!