"When I applied for this internship in early spring, I never would have imagined the variety of knowledge and skills that go into running a museum. Now, thanks to the staff and volunteers at the Museum, I have experienced a lot of them firsthand.
"My main project for the summer was to answer a few of the long-pondered questions about Lew Wallace to better our interpretation for guests. The two questions I decided to focus on are Lew's view of 'the woman question,' which visitors ask frequently because of his independent wife susan, and his opinions on slavery since he was a Union general.
"I first researched both, then drafted the more academic versions with all the appropriate citations. Next, I pared them down to add to the volunteers' manual. though some parts of the project, like reading all of Lew's 1003-page autobiography, were tedious at times, for the msot part I had a lot of fun discovering all I could about Lew's thought processes and opinions. I am particularly interested in questions of gender and the way it influenced culture and society at different historical time periods, so getting one man's take on the subject of women's roles particularly fascinated me.
"While my main project took up a large portion of my internship time, working 32-36 hours each week gave me plenty of time to learn more about other aspects of the Museum as well. I have given tours almost daily since the beginning of my internship, and I helped make signs and lay out the Museum newsletter. In June I had the opportunity to help move the paintings out of the Study in preparation for the roof restoration. That peek into collections work really fascinated me, and I plan to look more into that field because of my experiences. In July I assisted with the Lew Wallace Youth Academy. The kids were a lot of fun to work with, and getting to see them retire the Indiana flag using the ceremony I wrote really capped off the experience.
"Now I'm looking to the future. This fall I will be a sophomore at Indiana University Bloomington. I am majoring in history and minoring in sociology and anthropology. I took this internship hoping to gain some experience to decide if I want to stay in academia or expand the public's knowledge of history through museum work. While I have not totally made up my mind, this experience has certainly opened my eyes to the museum world."