National Park Service – Collections Internship

Chatham Manor – Head Quarters of the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park

During the Fall of 2018, I had the pleasure of completing a collections internship with the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. Over the course of the 3 month internship, my fellow intern and I completed a large number of curatorial tasks. We reviewed all 912 Accession Files for accuracy and noted discrepancies to fix in the future. We reviewed and replaced over 13,160 pages of the Museum Catalog Book. We collected and input data for the Temperature and Humidity Survey Charts and the Museum Environmental Data Log. One on going task in which we had a large hand was planning and orchestrating a housekeeping schedule for five prominent sites withing the park: Chatham Manor, Fredericksburg Visitors Center, Chancelorsville Visitors Center, the Jackson Death Site, and Museum Storage. Our housekeeping included cleaning display cases, dusting, carefully vacuuming antique furniture and pest control.

The internship also enabled us to care for the artifacts in the collection in a very direct way. We rehoused over 500 Civil War era objects for permanent museum storage. The artifacts we worked with ranged from shells to pressed flowers. I made boxes for pins, sewed covers for sibley stoves, and painstakingly cut foam in which to nestle chess pieces. Additionally, we Peer-reviewed over 130 transcribed Civil-War era letters from the Jerome Pierce Collections. While the effort to transcribe these letters is still ongoing, the ultimate goal is to publish the transcriptions online to make public a unique and touching collections of letters.

While most of the objects we worked with had been in the collection for quite some time, we were lucky enough to assist with several new accessions. This included transporting a stately marble table from the National Capitol Region back to our park, as well as accepting the Lacey bed for future installation in Chatham Manor. Additionally, we had the opportunity to sit in on Department Head meetings and Project Review Team meetings, allowing us to form a clearer picture of the machinations of the Park Service as a whole, as well as the particular workings of the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Park. Over all, this was an incredibly informative internship, and I enjoyed delving into the minutiae of museum collections and National Park Service work.