History in the Making

Stanly County Museum Internship

Hi, my name is Jacob Wyns and I am interning at the Stanly County Museum! I am a second year graduate history student at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, on the exam track. For this blog post I would like to detail a little about myself and my upcoming internship with the museum.

I began volunteering and interning at institutions during the summer before I began graduate school. I started volunteering at the Carolina Mecklenburg Room and worked in their special collections. As well I started off as a docent at the Matthews Heritage Museum, working with Barbara Taylor and Marty Groet.   Right off the bat, I gained an appreciation for the collections side of these two institutions. The Carolina Mecklenburg Room recently acquired the collections from the Charlotte Museum of History and I had the opportunity to work on a new vault for these artifacts. At the Matthews Heritage Museum I enjoyed working as a docent, but found the opportunity to work with PastPerfect and gain hands on experience with the preservation of artifacts to be right up my alley.

This past summer I had the opportunity to work at the Buffalo Gap Historic Village outside of Abilene, Texas. This journey out west cemented my desire to work in the museum field. I continued to work with PastPerfect cataloguing hundreds of artifacts, while also creating two interpretive exhibits. I worked on one exhibit individually in the Clyde Train Depot and another collaboratively with four other interns in the Taylor County Courthouse. We learned proper archival and preservation processes, created exhibit text panels and gained donations from private funders for the construction of our exhibits. It was a great experience and made me only want to continue my journey further as a museum professional.

I am very excited to work at the Stanly County Museum with Julie Hawks, who I have had the pleasure of having several graduate classes with at UNC-Charlotte, as well as the other volunteers at the museum. Right now I am preparing an exhibit on Native American history in the museum. I plan to make outreach to the other institutions in the County, to have a wide variety of artifacts that encompass the history of the Native Americans within Stanly County and the region as a whole.

As well, I plan to work with different digital technologies such as History Pin and Facebook to create new ways to display the objects in PastPerfect. I am greatly looking forward to learning more about the history of Stanly County and meeting many of the visitors to the museum. I think that county museums can be a great place for community engagement and outreach and can display history in creative interpretive formats. I look forward to exploring different ways to tell the history of Stanly County through both the exhibit and new digital media. So far I have had the opportunity to meet many passionate volunteers at the museum and know that this is a great place that cares deeply for the town’s past.

If you have any questions, please feel free to send me an email! I cannot wait to meet the visitors that come by the museum and learn more about the residents of Stanly County. If you get a chance, come stop by to see the new exhibit on Rosenwald Schools in Stanly County!