Working at the RAC has opened my eyes to how I view and understand archives and philanthropy and has furthered my need to work in the industry. I have learned so much about the RAC and its different departments from the collections management, processing, and reference team, and from the “RAC 101” videos that give a more in-depth understanding of the archival process. The projects I worked on were similar to the projects I hoped I would be working on. I would even go as far as to say I know these projects were made for me. During my internship at the Rockefeller Archive Center, I worked on a couple of different projects.
To start, I worked on the Carriage House inventory project. I organized and documented archival material that we collected from other organizations including the Rockefeller Archive Center. I created a traveling exhibit guide for Rachel Wimpee (Assistant Director of Research and Education) and Barbara Shubinski (Director of Research and Education), who presented the materials at the Ford Foundation. I created and labeled folders, created the exhibit guide for the materials, and lastly, stamped the pamphlets and books with the archival stamp. This gave me the chance to get a hands-on experience of what it is like to create my own archival guide.
Furthermore, I was able to assist with a cleaning project led by Jenna Fleming (Archivist). She informed me about the different methods used for cleaning and preserving archival material. The two methods are dry cleaning and wet cleaning. The most common method at the Rockefeller Archive Center is dry cleaning. Other organizations may use other methods, such as a humidifier for papers that have become stuck together and are unable to separate. The second method is called wet cleaning, which uses water to preserve materials. I loved working on this project because I could vividly see the change I was making using the yellow dense foam brushes that were in the shape of rectangles and I could see how well the dry cleaning pads worked when removing dirt and stains. Not only did I get a chance to work on a fun project, but I also got the chance to learn more about the people I worked with at the Rockefeller Archive Center.
Lastly, I created a couple of different social media videos. Instagram reels were created from a Rockefeller Archive Center “fun facts” document, as well as a couple of different videos depicting what was happening at the Rockefeller Archive Center from my perspective. Since I was in some way the social media liaison I also photographed various tours that happened at the Rockefeller Archive Center.
I enjoyed working on all of my projects for different reasons. My favorite part about the Carriage House inventory project was the information I read in the archival documents. I began to have a different perspective on things I normally would consider to be trivial and I was intrigued to see how future projects would shift my perspectives on the changing world around me.
I started my internship on September 12 and while interning at the Rockefeller Archive Center I was on a hybrid schedule. Mondays I worked online from home and on Wednesdays I was on-site at the Rockefeller Archive Center. Wednesdays were my favorite day because I was able to be on-site at the Rockefeller Archive Center.
Getting real hands-on experience working with archival material is a rare find and I am very grateful to the Rockefeller Archive Center community for giving me the opportunity to work with them. Since the start of Covid-19, my daily work routines shifted and I was no longer communicating with people in person as much. Since I was used to this norm I had to shift my own perspective of how I should act and interact with others. Luckily it was easy to do so because everyone at the Rockefeller Archive Center was very welcoming and open, always reminding me that they are here to support me during my time at the Rockefeller Archive Center. As I reflect back on my time at the Rockefeller Archive Center I realized I accomplished a lot and I am proud of the work I did and will continue to do.