Interning for the Rockefeller Archive Center at the Cohen Library’s Archives and Special Collections this spring semester gave me the opportunity to understand the process of archival preservation and research.
At the beginning of this program, I wondered what my role was as an intern on-site at the Archives and Special Collections. I had amazing interactions with assistant archivist Renae Rapp, who helped me understand my RAC-CCNY projects, Professor Sydney Van Nort offering insightful history lessons of City College, and RAC’s Education Program Manager Marissa Vassari to assist me throughout the semester and offer solutions to my questions.
My project on Student Publications expanded my knowledge of CCNY’s news outlets like “The Campus” and “The Paper” and its brief history from the 1930s to 1980s of the student editors and their stories. I learned how to input volume numbers, authors, dates, and headlines into an Excel sheet for students to find an easier way to get information about City College. Looking through the publications, I noticed the different genres of articles posted during the 80s that were political and of the arts. I was intrigued that towards the mid-80s, there was more interest in Black American activism and the arts in “The Paper”.
I had a wonderful time working with the educator and City College Art Alumni, Randy Brozen, who is leading the project. When onsite at the Archives and Special Collections, I helped with the installation process of the Women Make Art exhibit and was able to be involved in labeling and hanging the artwork in the gallery. I had help from Renae and Sydney to work on sending flyers and invitations to past students involved from the last Women Make Art gallery to present their artwork again for this spring’s 2023 art show. This was a fun and impactful project, and I was able to learn about many students’ passions that they put into their artworks.
I made a Research Guide about CCNY’s Library that highlights the Physics Department’s significant faculty members and contributions. It was fascinating to go through the Physics Department’s printed historical records and take notes. I realized how crucial it was for the department to receive grants and research funds, which led to the creation of the Marshak building and the faculty’s valuable contributions to the world of science.
Overall, my experience at the Archives and Special Collections as a RAC-CCNY Intern gave me the opportunity to interact with a variety of faculty and staff at both sites and helped me learn more about archival research and the multiple processes that go into preserving and providing access to history.