When I walked into Musselman library for my first official day as Exhibits Intern, I have to admit that it felt like the strangest thing in the world. First of all, I’ve only been to the library once or twice since finals ended; it still feels eerie to see the place so empty. Second of all, it felt weird to be walking in as an employee instead of just some sophomore running to print out a paper before class.
Let me just say that I am thrilled to be Musselman Library’s Exhibits Intern this summer! How I was offered this post was a bit of a chance happening, actually. Last spring I was lucky enough to be one of three students from Professor Shannon Egan’s Art and Public Policy class who were asked to speak at a special programming event for the Friends of the Library. It was in our preparations for this talk that I met Robin Wagner, the Director of Musselman Library. After chatting casually about my interest in museum work, Robin asked if I worked anywhere on campus. I told her about my job in Schmucker Art Gallery. Soon enough we began talking about my summer plans— I had recently accepted a job at the Gettysburg Review as the Summer Conference/Office Assistant. If I was going to be in Gettysburg, Robin said, maybe I could do some work at the library as well.
As it turns out, Robin and several of the other librarians had frequently discussed the possibility of having and Exhibits Intern on staff— a student who would be able to research, plan, and work on many of the exhibits to be displayed the following academic year. It was an internship that was always discussed, but never formally organized or tried out to date. As a recently declared Art History major (doubled with my English with a Writing Concentration major), and as someone interested in museum planning and management, this sounded like the perfect opportunity for me. I followed up with Robin in an email that evening, confirming my interest in the potential internship. She immediately put my in contact with Meggan Smith, who is a Reference/Instruction Librarian and key member of the Exhibits and Programs Committee; the rest is history.
I began my first day with a lot of reading. Meggan left me a binder with a whole assortment of articles, covering exhibits design in libraries in addition to Musselman Library’s Strategic Plan and its Exhibits and Programs Committee Charge. Not long after getting through the Strategic Plan I was visited by Lisa McNamee, who whisked me away to take photos of the current installations.
As we snapped away at display case after display case, I was ashamed to realize how little I knew about the exhibits in the library. There was Thaddeus Stevens up in Special Collections, the Photo of the Day in the Browsing Room, Brienz woodcarvings in a case on the main floor, and the Warning photographs, not to mention the Nicaragua and Studying Abroad in the Middle East displays. I’ve made a mental note to go exploring later this week, so that I can read up on all the panels before I have to help de-install them.
I’m definitely looking forward to discovering what new adventures the library and its exhibits have in store for me. Stay tuned!