Recap: FREEDOM at the Freedom Center

Since I never really did debrief you all about how AMAZING my internship was this summer, I figured now was better late than never.

Doing condition reports for our quilt exhibit.

To recap, I received an incredibly generous grant from the Rivers Institute at Hanover to fund my adventures in Cincinnati-land by studying the connection between the Underground Railroad and the Ohio River. I moved into my apartment the day of graduation and started work at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center the following Tuesday.

In the slave pen with enthusiastic museum-goers

Working at the Freedom Center was nothing short of a blast. An average day for me looked something like this….

Up’n’atom at 8:00 a.m. and off to work at 10:30 a.m. Getting up so late is enviable now that I have a 9:00 a.m. class. Then I would (most likely) help put in a new exhibit, occasionally shadow a tour, plan for upcoming programming or most often, input survey data. Let me be clear, though, working at the Freedom Center always left me guessing and was never monotone. There was something new going on every day!

Lunch was, to be honest, one of my favorite parts of the day. Hilarious conversation and occasional off-campus field trips (like to a local glass-blowing studio to make our very own glass flowers that we forgot to pick up) totally made the day.

Survey Monkey and I became close, close friends...

Then it was more exhibit-building, program-planning, shenanigans and survey-inputting until 5:00 p.m., when I had to head home for the day.

Apart from daily office work and normal museum goings-on, I was also given several amazing opportunities at the Freedom Center that I know I wouldn’t have gotten elsewhere. For example, I got to stand next to a piece of the Berlin Wall that we installed at the Freedom Center over the summer. Since the Berlin Wall fell only a few months after I was born, this was particularly meaningful. I also got to work with nationally-renowned fabric artists for the quilt exhibit we displayed all summer.

Just chillin.... on the Berlin Wall. No biggie.

However, as I believe I’ve mentioned before, the best part of this internship was getting to know my coworkers in the museum. Without them, I can guarantee my summer wouldn’t have been nearly as spectacular or as plain-old-fun as it turned out to be!

So a great big THANKS to the Rivers Institute who made this all possible for me. When I’m off working at some big famous museum, I’ll make sure to remember who got me there… (Yes, I dream THAT big!)  ;)

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