Internships are geared towards professional development. In our field, that primarily translates to gaining and honing technical archival skills and at times includes improving management capabilities in administration and organization. And though I certainly got both of that during my ten week internship at Appalshop, my summer program up in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky has strongly reaffirmed while also greatly influencing my perception of the archivist’s and the archive’s role in community development. And how, in return, the community enriches and sustains the archive as it enables it to truly "live."
Besides from the day-to-day archival work , I had my hands on several collections at the Appalshop archive doing various preservation activities including collection assessment, inspection, inventory, cleaning, repair, database management, and research. I handled various media like the video tape productions of the Appalachian Media Institute, the gorgeous home movies on Kodachrome of the Dr. Parrot Collection, the black&white silent vintage stag films of Middlesoboro, and the writings and art works in the Mountain Review Collection. I also assisted in the daily administrative activities and key management matters in running an archive. I was privy to and assisted in the archive's internal operations and its dynamics and relations with other departments and projects of the organization. This included matters such as budget planning, fund raising, staff management, logistical maintenance, organizational development and systems & procedures among others.
But the highlight really is being able to be part of the archive's outreach activities including bringing the collection out to the public at various fairs and festivals, developing relations with current and potential donors, working with artists and researchers in utilizing the collection, and engaging the people to have a sense of ownership of the archive in aid of building their narratives and communities.
This summer I was a part of an archive that not only was at work, but one that was truly alive