I have been greatly enjoying my experience as a Collections Intern with the Mackinac State Historic Parks on Mackinac Island. Everyday I’m learning and seeing new things! Here’s a what a typical day is like for me.
Once a week, usually Wednesdays, I start my day off with an 8am ferry ride to Mackinaw City. It’s a great place to relax and think about the day ahead, as often times the ferry is very empty that early in the morning. Once on the mainland I hurry over to the main park offices to attend a meeting with the management staff and other interns. Everyone shares what they accomplished in the past week, while discussing the coming week ahead. Once concluded, my supervisor and I get back on a ferry to return the island.
On the Island, I spend most of my time in the Heritage Center. This is where the MSHP collections are stored. It is located behind Fort Mackinac in a large white building. It is not opened to the public, but researchers are able to come there to study the objects hands on. It is also home the Archaeology Lab, which is used whenever there is a dig or excavation happening at the park.
My main task as an intern is to conduct inventory of the collections. To do this I use a big binder that lists object names, accession numbers, and locations. I have to make sure that what the book says matches what is on the shelves…
…And there are lots and lots of shelves, so it is very important to keep track of where things belong. After I physically go through every shelf, I update the section in the computer, including any location changes and other notes. Inventory is often considered to be something tedious and boring, but I enjoy it because I get to see every object and artifact in the collection. Some of my favorite finds so far have been an 1800s hearing aid (basically a big spiral shaped cone you’d stick in your ear) and a lighthouse keeper’s uniform.
At the end of the day I have to walk down a super steep hill, which I also have to climb up on the mornings that I don’t ride on the ferry. It’s quite the workout out, but the views are beautiful from the top, and hopefully I’ll have awesome calves once the summer is over!