By Rachel Luczkowski (Oberlin College class of 2012)
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.