My name is Audrey Schlemmer. I am a junior at Hood River Valley High School and last summer and the first semester of 11th grade I interned under Dr. Lynn Orr, director of the The History Museum of Hood River County.
In the summer I had the privilege of working with the collection volunteers. They showed me the process of accessioning and deaccessioning items in the museum’s care, as well as cataloging them in Past Perfect (the digital record of all the items in the museums collection and their location) and finding items that were needed, mainly books. In the summer of 2018, the volunteers went through most of all of the books that the museum had to determine which books they wanted and which books they didn’t.
I helped by moving a lot of boxes of books, although I did get to read a few books. One that I found particularly interesting was an almanac from 1929. I could not believe what was legal back then and how out of touch it is by today’s standards.
In my first semester of junior year, I had a class called Internship, which was exactly what it sounds like. I got to come down to the museum, have fun and learn about how a museum operates, as well as have a whole magnitude of random, fun experiences for a grade! Orr always made sure that I was doing interesting and educational things.
For instance, I got to re-wrap many beautiful beaded Native American bags in archival tissue paper so that they would be better protected.
I also got to look at the museum’s collection of Edward Curtis photogravures and go into some of the cases on display to catalog the objects.
I was tasked with finding a diagram of a fish wheel for the Salmon Exhibition, as well as checking every single book in the museum’s library for an accession number and marking books that didn’t have them. I also helped with taking down the “Textile” exhibit and the “Highway” exhibit.
I had an absolutely amazing experience interning down at the museum. I’m so grateful to get the opportunity to have a hands-on learning experience with someone who is extremely competent in their field and patient enough to deal with a high schooler. It’s truly amazing how much work goes into running a museum smoothly, how no one just has one job, and how, from looking at the finished products (the exhibitions), it’s impossible to see the hiccups and hair-pulling that goes into every one.
The only thing that gets seen is the result of hours upon hours of hard work and determination of many people to present the most polished delivery of information that they can.