Summering In Connecticut

Editor’s note: At SCPC, we’re proud to see our student assistants complete internships (read about the experiences of Caitlin, Katharine and Chris) and take part in enriching activities (like this and this).  Of course, we then ask them to “blog about it!”  Here, Clara Bertagnolli (a second-year grad student) tells us about her summer in Connecticut.

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From Colt revolvers to Katherine Hepburn, from the Charter Oak to the dramatic story of the discovery of gas as an anesthetic, Connecticut has a much richer history than I expected when I began my internship there at the Connecticut Historical Society this summer. I didn’t know what to expect, but what I got was a small taste of what Connecticut has to offer and what many facets of museum work are like.

At the Connecticut Historical Society, I split my time between four different departments, one for each day of the week I worked there. On Mondays, I spent time in Exhibitions, where I developed an exhibit for a small alcove on the brief and tragic family life of the gun entrepreneur Samuel Colt, married five years before his death. I also worked on content for a panel-based exhibit on Horace Wells that is currently being displayed in the lobby of Hartford Stage during their production of Ether Dome. Tuesdays were my Collections days, where I worked on everything from constituent records in the database to cataloging new objects to editing digital photographs of objects taken for our records. I also spent a few hours some Tuesdays as a gallery attendant at the popular Katherine Hepburn fashion exhibit. I worked for Development on Wednesday, drafting business and dining partnership proposal letters and designing an outreach program on Summertime Memories centering around images found in the collections. Thursdays, I worked with the Education department, which mostly consisted of preparing materials for education programs and taking field trips to museums throughout Connecticut.

This was an incredibly busy but rewarding experience. While at first I found myself rather lost and confused in trying to differentiate between the departments and the tasks assigned to me, I was ultimately glad to have an opportunity to explore so many facets of museum work. I feel that this has made a neat [capstone] to my graduate experience and has allowed me to affirm my goal of ultimately working as a collections manager or registrar.

–Contributed by Clara Bertagnolli

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