To the Next Curator,
In a time of uncertainty and constant change, I am extremely grateful that I was given the opportunity to be the History Intern for the 2020 Summer or the “Lost Summer.” Although I was only able to make three small trips (each less than a week-long) to Weld, Maine, and most of my work this summer was done virtually, I bore witness to the strong and welcoming community that exists at Kawanhee. During my visits, only a few people were at camp, and we would often chat for hours and they made me feel at home for the short time I was there. Everybody was incredibly helpful at the camp, but also when I was conducting short phone interviews. I also saw an incredible display of global community and togetherness in a time of social distancing and isolation through the “Kawanhee from Home” videos posted on YouTube, click here to access the channel. (I can’t make this link work right now. If you know what it should be, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org thanks)
As an American Studies major, I did not have a lot of museum background, but I had worked with a lot of primary sources previously, so I found this to be beneficial for me. Coming into the internship I did not know what I exactly wanted to do, but as I read more and listened in my interviews, certain subjects caught my attention and I knew it was those that I wanted to dive into. But I also kept track of how I was feeling after every week, so click here to view a synopsis of how I handled each week!
Many of my projects this summer, when I was physically in the cabin, focused on organization and categorizing. There were several large bins under the right-side table that had so many loose documents that needed to be sorted, and I thought that this was the ideal summer to focus on organization in the cabin since there were no kids at camp. I made a rough map (I am unfortunately not an excellent artist), linked here, of where items can be found in the cabin since I found the first few days to be especially overwhelming because you do not know where to start or where things are located.
Another big project of mine this summer was scanning and updating the virtual copies of documents and making sure publications like the Wigwam and the Catalogs are as up to date as they could be. Now we are only missing three Catalog copies before the year 2000. I also uncovered and organized the many, many Wigwams editions. Each of these publications was additionally updated on the website so alumni, campers, and friends alike could take a trip down memory lane or just enjoy looking at the old photos.
In the virtual aspect, a few other projects I took on this summer was to add a few more virtual exhibits about various aspects of Kawanhee, but I specifically focused on the waterfront. These mini virtual exhibits are unfortunately not as fleshed out or as in-depth as I would have liked to make them because I ran out of time. This internship does fly by so make sure to outline some goals you have at the beginning!
A final project I worked on was conducting interviews with alumni or staff at Kawanhee. These were extremely helpful for me to gain a better understanding of the camp since I was not physically there for most of the summer and would not truly experience the “Kawanhee magic.” I am so grateful to everybody who took the time out of their day to speak with me and every conversation I had helped to grow my knowledge of Kawanhee. I would encourage the next curator to read the transcripts or listen to the interviews if they want to know what kind of place Kawanhee is.
If the internship is virtual for the 2021 summer, do not worry or fret. There are so many projects that could be worked on, and it just requires you to think outside of the box sometimes. You also will have excellent and caring people encouraging you and helping you so do not be afraid to reach out to them.
Even virtually, I know Camp Kawanhee is a wonderful place filled with caring and awesome people. Every intern has done this job differently and that is the beauty of this job, it is what you make of it and what you want to make of it, so the possibilities are endless! I am excited for the next curator to build onto what has been done beforehand, but also to see what creative ideas and projects they start!
I have included the ideas that Monica Conary mentioned in her general note, most of which I was not able to get to because I was not physically at camp all summer:
- Level plans for the Museum – so that campers can come and participate in different projects during activity hours and earn points!
- Working on the timeline with Mike, adding or redoing some of the areas that have faded.
- Putting up the posters in the history kiosks – Last year I made new posters for the history kiosks that are around camp but decided not to insert them into the kiosks because there was only a couple weeks left of camp.
- Organizing the museum – Coming up with a better system and some organization methods that might make finding items in the museum easier.
- Interviews with Alumni – who are visiting for the 100th anniversary
- Reorganize outside cabinet.
I would add to this list:
- Building on the website how you see fit
- Maybe add new virtual exhibits
- Scan photos/create a virtual copy of them
- Make sure all items in the filing cabinets have a virtual copy or scan
- Virtual history treasure hunt?
- Don’t be afraid of the website! I am not the biggest tech person and I was able to use it quite easily!