I was told about an internship opportunity with the Rockefeller Archive Center by my roommate. She encouraged me to apply, knowing that I was looking for new opportunities. I applied, was interviewed, and began to work with the RAC in the Fall of 2022. I had no previous experience in archival work, but was excited nonetheless. I was ready to explore more of what you could do with a History degree. Little did I know that I had stumbled into greatness.
I worked on site at the Archives at CCNY, with Professor Sydney Van Nort as my supervisor there. It is so nice to be involved with Archives that are part of your college - there is a personal connection. Professor Van Nort helped to acclimate me to the collections. Aside from exploring our collections, my favorite thing that I worked on during my internship was creating outreach for the CCNY Archives. I particularly homed in on creating social media for the Archives. I saw a gap where many students were unaware of the Archive’s existence, and I wondered if something could be done about it. I found this really enjoyable and fulfilling as it enabled me to share the Archives with the larger CCNY community. I worked on a social media plan so that the presence could hopefully engage with a larger audience. Archives is such a valuable resource, and I believe that CCNY students should be able to engage with it regularly.
In our digital age, social media is the perfect way for them to engage. I was able to develop my pitching skills for this project. It was something I greatly believed in and wanted to convince my superiors to go for it. Being able to pitch something is a very valuable skill, and I’m glad I was able to flex that muscle.
Additionally, another thing I worked on was inventory of a small collection. For the first time, I was able to be hands on with items in the Archive. I worked on an alumni file for Valdemar Monshaw. I went through the entire 4 box collection, and cataloged what was in it.
It is so interesting to see what is being kept and what CCNY is interested in preserving. Monshaw was a very smart man who had worked on satellite technologies for NASA-contracted companies during the Space Race. As a history major who is interested in that period of time, it was extremely cool to see something like an invite to the Apollo X launch! There were commemorative envelopes with JFK on them, and even a letter from then-governor of California, Ronald Reagan congratulating Monshaw on his technical accomplishments. It was amazing to see the period of history I am interested in come alive in these files.
I am so glad that I applied to this internship with the Rockefeller Archives Center. It is something that I never thought I would have an opportunity to explore while still in college. It has shown me new possibilities for a career, and one that is tremendously important. Being able to preserve our history and then learn from it is one of the most rewarding parts of being in archives. It makes me sad that my time with the RAC is ending, but the skills that I have learned and the doors that have been opened from this internship have reinvigorated my love for the field of history and archives.