Ok - while it's true that I've been at Banting House a lot longer than six weeks, I really can't believe my internship is officially halfway through! We're actually having our Public History program reunion tomorrow afternoon. Has it really been over two months since I've seen some of these people?! The transition from student to professional does remarkable things to a person. A PROESSIONAL?! Is that really what I am now? Soon I'll have the business cards to prove it... :o)
In other related news, I have started putting hours in at the J.P. Metras Museum again. Summer projects include mostly a continuation of what our class was working on last semester - cataloging using the Past Perfect software. Hopefully, this skill will make me marketable in the future - because it's an awful lot of data entry - but this is how one gets her foot in the door in this field, no? Hopefully between Jordan and myself, we'll be able to get through the photograph collection and the artifacts that are on display already in Alumni Hall. This may be a completely unrealistic goal, but it's what we're working on. It will be interesting to see how much we can actually accomplish - and also pretty neat, since I have been working with this collection since September and I've been able to actually see what the application of our craft can do in terms of organization and accessiblity.
We had some pretty high pressure tours through Banting House this week. The regional directors of the CDA came for a visit and naturally, the curator was out for the day at a meeting, leaving me as the hostess. There have been quite a few occassions where CDA officers and staff come to Banting House for an official meeting place - it only makes sense that they return to where it all began, eh? They all tend to generally be in awe of the museum (and a little bit jealous that they don't get to have their offices in the actual birthplace of insulin) and leave with a feeling of inspiration and purpose. I think the tour went well.
One of the goals I have for my time here is to integrate more of a diabetes education into the museum tour. The first step is, of course, better training our tour guides and museum volunteers on the topic. When visitors ask questions in museums, they are usually about topics in which they have some sort of prior knowledge. At this particular museum, which is owned by a health charity, people are going to come in with their own opinions and sense of curiosity about diabetes - things they've grown up hearing, trying to relate to that one person they know who has diabetes. Now, while the museum staff is not there to provide health counseling, I personally don't feel right about not being able to answer questions about the disease that is central to the story of this house - I mean, that's why Banting House is here, isn't it? Other than the obvious historical value of the man and the story and the discovery, there is a flame burning outside our museum that really truly means something to a lot of people.
Anyway, I'm taking steps to further educate myself, at the very least.
Another noteworthy opportunity I had this week was to edit The Isletin, our quarterly newsletter. In addition to seeing my own article included as the first story, I got to observe what kinds of topics and stories go into a newsletter and I got to break down the strategy used by museums through the use of something like a newsletter. I got the sense that our target audience was made up of reliable donors - the people that sit on committees and are involved in events and promote the institution in the community - our members. There was a whole lot of "Get Involved" vibes that were radiating from this newsletter. I feel better prepared to put together or manage a newsletter in the future...
That's just another part of my buffet-style learning experience here!