Internship Update #3

Since my last post, I’ve continued to contribute to In Slavery’s Wake by contributing to copyediting the exhibit signage and by conducting more research for the interactives.

This new research centered on reexploring some of the topics of my earlier work on Black Freedom Movements and Black Abolitionism based on feedback from the contractor developing the interactives and after reexamining how the different elements that were researched separately fit together. Distance between mappable points continues to be something we have to work around without losing or distorting meaning. I’ve enjoyed revisiting some of my Atlantic slavery reading that I haven’t looked at since my PhD coursework such as book chapters on Black fraternal organizations in Latin America. I’ve also looked deeper into topics like South African Anti-Apartheid movements, which I barely knew anything about.

I think my research contributions have been successful, and I’m hoping to see them incorporated in the final interactives. The need for revisions and working through fitting the various topics together has led me to re-envision my research work product. I first aimed to produce a neat, streamlined presentation of a topic that would be able to go straight into production. But I’ve increasingly seen my product as creating a set of options, often overlapping ones, so that the rest of the team can explore how they might work with other topics and content. I think that shift in my goals reflects a greater understanding of the exhibit creation process.

I think the most challenging aspect of my internship has been only working part time for the Center for the Study of Global Slavery. Because I’m not at all the meetings related to my work and because deadlines pop up when I’m not available, I’m not always part of how my research gets interrupted and used. It’s great that my research is contributing to team decisions, but ultimately, I’d like some more feedback on how to adapt my work for a museum setting. Going forward, I plan to be more proactive about asking for feedback and by being direct about my desire for it.

Beyond my own work, it’s been eye-opening to learn that outside contractors make most museum exhibits and especially interactives. When creating interactives, these contractors are doing Digital Public History, and I think people with those skills, myself included, should consider them as potential employers. It seems like the ability to program, knowledge of history pedagogical techniques, and the capability to do historical research would be a good fit at these organizations.