Oberlin Heritage Center Blog


Archive for the ‘Student Projects!’ Category

Researching Women Physicians in the 19th & 20th Centuries

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

By Chloe Drummond (Oberlin College class of 2012)

This Winter Term, I wanted to stay in Oberlin and work locally. I hadn’t had an internship position for Winter Term before and I thought that working for the Oberlin Heritage Center would be a great opportunity to learn a lot about Oberlin, conduct in-depth history research—something I hadn’t really done before—and give my time to an organization that does a lot for the Oberlin community that I have grown fond of. And let me tell you, I think my Winter Term has been incredibly fulfilling. Not only have I met wonderful people who are truly passionate about their work, but I have learned to use resources I hadn’t previously known about.

I have been working on research about women physicians who practiced in Oberlin in the 19th and 20th centuries. I have found interesting information ranging from specific details such as a person’s physical features and notes about communication preferences, to broader context, such as the environment in which women practiced medicine at this time in U.S. history. Because of the centuries I was dealing with, it was tricky to find a lot of specific information that wasn’t recorded by Oberlin College. For example, I was unable to track down day-to-day practice information of the physicians who had private offices. I was, however, able to find a lot of information on the physicians who worked for the college. I believe that my work, as tough as it was to find information, has only scratched the surface. With more time, and by looking at different school records, city directories and hopefully other good pockets of sources, more information on these women will be revealed. It has been an interesting project because I have learned a lot about Oberlin College’s early physical education programs and in general, the kinds of work that women physicians were confined to in the early stages of allowing women to practice medicine in the United States. Personally, I have developed research skills that I know will be useful later on. I am hoping that the Oberlin Heritage Center can make good use of my project.

Working with the Past and Looking to the Future

Friday, January 29th, 2010

 

By Claire Baytas (Oberlin College class of 2012)

 

claire-wt1

 

When I first saw the advertisement on the Oberlin College Career Services page for an intern to work on restoring an old dollhouse, I knew I wanted to apply. I had been lost as to what to do for winter term, especially since my future career options and even my major still remain undetermined. I knew that because I am a swimmer and needed to train for the month of January I was restricted to Oberlin and the nearby community for choosing a project. This internship allowed me to research areas I had never imagined I would, in addition to using my arts and crafts skills to help rebuild a little piece of Oberlin history. It was the nature of the work I would be doing at the Heritage Center, but also memories of my personal love of dollhouses as a little girl, that led me to apply for the position.

 

My work at the Heritage Center involved anything from researching how to install a hardwood floor to sewing miniature curtains. Just looking at the photographs of masterpiece dollhouses while researching was astounding—it’s hard to believe that there are dollhouses that are fancier than any real house I’ve ever been in. My supervisors and fellow interns were wonderful and extremely enthusiastic about our project, which made coming into work all the better. This internship allowed me to become more involved in the Oberlin community outside the college, which I have wanted to do since coming to this school. Furthermore, especially since my future is so unclear, it is helpful for me to explore new careers and work environments that seem interesting to me. I loved the variety of skills I used during this past month and enjoyed myself greatly, and it is definitely possible that I could one day have a job that relates to this experience.

 

Work on the dollhouse is not finished, but I think the plans our group has laid out will lead to a remarkable finished product. I can’t wait for the day when I can go to see it on public display in Oberlin.

Working as a Preservation Intern

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

By Rachel Luczkowski (Oberlin College class of 2012)

Rachel interning at the Oberlin Heritage Center

Choosing a winter term project is always difficult. There is usually a good deal of flexibility with what you choose and practically anything can be justified and signed off on. For example, I have a friend who has been making balloon animals for the entire month of January. I decided to go the more conventional route and find an internship, preferably something in the museum world. Luckily, I already knew a museum that would serve my interests well. Having worked with the Oberlin Heritage Center through the Bonner Scholars Program I was easily able to set up an internship and have been volunteering with them regularly.

Although my role at first was not clearly defined, we finally settled on the title of Preservation Intern as my responsibility to the Oberlin Heritage Center. As a Preservation Intern, one is able to get their hands and minds into everything involved with the museum’s daily workings. The past month I have become an expert encapsulator of documents, an awesome archival box builder, familiarized myself with the collections management policies of the group, learned a great deal about historical tax credits and LEED certification, and carefully cleaned pieces from a dollhouse from the 1930’s.  What I learned was not restricted to just the Monroe House either. With the Heritage Center I visited the Mckay Lodge Conservation Laboratory and Steve McQuillin’s, a building preservation consultant, historic home. I was even fortunate enough to be sent on behalf of the Heritage Center to a symposium about Green Historic Preservation in Indianapolis and discussed with preservationists from all over the Midwest about how to address this new movement in preservation. All in all the Heritage Center provided me with an amazing well rounded experience and I hope that with my new skills I can continue to help them as long as I am at Oberlin, as well as apply myself in the museum world later.