December 9, 2003At the Gregg County Historical Museum in Longview . . .
For three days last summer, graduate student Jennifer Rogers scrambled about on the floor of the museum as she sorted through 300 pounds of Lincoln Logs and train tracks and helped set up a children's A.C. Gilbert Imagination Station traveling exhibit.
Rogers, who is specializing in museum studies and will complete the graduate program in May, interned with the Gregg County Historical Museum in Longview, Texas, working mostly with the Buddy Calvin Jones Caddo Indian collection. She also researched traveling exhibits and helped develop the Antique and New Car Show exhibit.
"This internship was the best way to use what I learned in the classroom. The best part for me was when the museum director asked me to do something and I was able to say, 'I can do that,'" she says. "It is one thing to learn the academics of running a museum; it is completely different when turning academics into practicality."
She says that working on joint projects with the museum staff helped her learn important professional skills. "From the first day I started the internship, I was one of them, a friend and an employee. I felt like I was contributing."
She also learned more about herself and was able to focus her career interests, realizing that traveling exhibits especially appealed to her. "I discovered my zeal for new projects. I enjoy learning and change. I am also a great problem-solver," she says.
"When dealing with staff or volunteers, there is no manual or guidebook because everyone is different," she says. "So, I guess what I have learned at the museum is the stuff you cannot learn in the classroom -- the people skills."
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