The JanTerm Experience: “Ringmastering at Ringling Museum”

This year, I decided I wanted to do my first internship in my hometown of Sarasota, Florida. When most people hear the name “Sarasota,” they think of the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus. I was able to land an internship at the Ringling Museum’s Circus Archives department with the background experience I learned from working in Salem’s archive department as a work-study student.  cs

The skills I learned in Salem’s archive department were tremendously important at my internship because I was able to understand terminology like metadata, cataloging, and digitizing. At my internship, I was able to broaden my understanding along with narrowing in on applying certain skills that I have learned so far.

My tasks so far include working on many ongoing projects in the archive department, along with assisting others in completing new ones. A current project that I am working on is digitizing a photo album from 1903. The photographs were taken by a man hired by Ringling to go to India to take pictures of the clothing, people, culture, parades, and decorations in order to inspire American circuses at the time to be more international. Not only is this album extremely interesting, but also, in the process, I learned how to use many important computer programs in the archiving industry that would set me apart from other people applying for an archiving job in the future. I feel incredibly fortunate to be a part of such a wonderful and helpful experience.

(Adapted from Salem College’s e-newsletter.)

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