So this is going to be my last blog post, as it’s the end of my 10th week here at Homestead National Monument. Next week I’ll be driving to Colorado for a three-day workshop with the other LHIP interns from across the country. I will be giving a poster presentation on my digital photo project, and will be participating in sessions practicing interviews, reviewing my resume, and learning how Rocky Mountain National Park operates. The following week I’ll be back here at Homestead, working the week leading up to the solar eclipse. The park asked me if I wanted to extend my internship to work up through the eclipse, so the total eclipse on August 21st will be my last day of work. Although it’s probably going to be crazy working here that weekend with people coming to the park from all over the world, I’m really excited to experience my first solar eclipse, and to be a part of this huge event at the park. Then I immediately leave to drive back to Iowa, and start a semester-long fellowship in the art department.
To wrap up my last official week, I was in charge of installing the new exhibition in our multipurpose room, a set of art quilts from a group in Lincoln depicting a total eclipse, and a larger National Park Service (NPS) Centennial quilt. It was exciting to see everything come in, and the exhibit to come together. Set up went smoothly, until the sign for the NPS quilt was misplaced, and it couldn’t be located for a couple days. Finally, we found it sitting in a closet we hadn’t thought to look in.
I came into this internship expecting to gain experience organizing digital photograph collections, and learning a little about the history of homesteading along the way, but I have had the opportunity to learn so much more. When I first got here, I avoided interacting with park guests, nervous about answering any phones or welcoming anyone to the park, feeling like I didn’t have the knowledge base. In the past two months I have gotten so much more comfortable talking to people and answering their questions, so I now enjoy giving my little introductory speech when people come into the Freeman School, or into one of the visitor’s centers. I still sometimes trip up on facts, or get nervous when there’s an especially large group coming in, but at the beginning of the summer I would have just looked scared and found a ranger to talk to the visitors. I have built on my previous knowledge of digital photographs and archiving, and have expanded my knowledge of digital videos, especially how to make them accessible by utilizing subtitles. Although I’m excited to see my friends again in Iowa, I’ve enjoyed working with everyone at Homestead National Monument, and getting to explore a state I’d never visited before, in addition to gaining new skills.