Greeting from Shaker Heights, Ohio.
I’ve titled this “Zero Week” because I’m accomplishing this internship for college credit and the quarter doesn’t begin until Monday, June 26th.
I didn’t fly here. I drove. I left Washington in the morning on Friday, June 16th. I arrived in Shaker Heights in the evening on Monday, June 19th. The area where I’m staying is cute. There are a lot of old Tudor homes. Here is what I have done since arriving.
Tuesday: I began establishing a routine. I woke up at 5 am and went for a run. Not only did it give me a chance to see more of the surrounding area, but it also helped me adjust to the time difference. Later, I went to Target to pick up a few items I had forgotten to pack, such as a microwave. I also called the Shaker Historical Society (SHS) and set up my orientation for Wednesday.
Wednesday: Orientation. I looked at everything in the museum, and then we did the usual administrative paperwork and photo activities. I meet the other interns and the only other staff member. There are only two staff members, the director, and the administrative assistant. I will be working Mon-Fri bankers hours. I’m going to have two projects. The first is cataloging the 2017 collection. It’s not very large, so it’s something I should be able to do fairly quickly once I understand the process. The second is a little more detailed and still needs to be shaped. It has become a shared understanding in the community that Shaker Heights was kept as a white community with the use of restrictive covenants. Even the little movie that they show in the museum said something about it. However, the director isn’t convinced. She wants me to investigate. I told her the deeds might be online because we had a bunch online in Spokane. It took all of 5 minutes for her and me to Google the Assessor’s office and located the original dead for the house the museum is in. She thought that was the bee’s knees. I think, rather than going house by house for the last 100 years I’m going to try crowdsourcing. There are nine neighborhoods, and I think if I can get all the deeds for just a few in each neighborhood then I could be on my way to seeing what happened. I’m not sure if or how this information could become an exhibit. The museum currently has a cool show on 20th-century domestic servants in Shaker Heights. Maybe my research will be the foundation for the presentation that takes its place.
Thursday: Drafted and launched the social media campaign to crowdsource the deeds. I researched old maps of the neighborhoods and called the assurers office. I will go on Monday to use their computers to get the deeds I need. Began Acquisitions & Accessions training. There is reading to do. I hope to get it done on Friday. Once I’m done, I’ll receive hands-on training with Past Perfect. I’m looking forward to photographing the items. The 2017 collection is slowly moving to the area surrounding the computer with the Past Perfect program. In the evening there was a gallery opening. I stayed and met some of the board members and people from the area. I took pictures of the people at the event for use on the SHS website and social media. I also learned how to run the gift shop.
Friday: Most of the day was spent on the Acquisitions & Accessions reading. I spent two hours in the gift shop and about two hours on the deeds project.
Thoughts: The staff does everything! They even keep the grounds. There were walls to patch and paint. I didn’t help with that, but I did help with watering the garden Thursday morning. The mix of tasks is stimulating, and I’m glad for my time management skills.
Friday afternoon they received news that they will have a grant for next year’s programs. They talk a lot about money; the board members talk a lot about money, it seems to be a stressor for them all. I think news of the grant was a good way for them to start their weekend. On the topic of programs; they launch a new program on Monday that will run for the week. It’s an archaeology day camp for kids. They go out to a site where a Shaker building once stood and dig. Last year they found a broken tea-cup from the Shaker era. I hope to see the program in action next Tuesday.