Have you ever been to an amusement park and then returned home with your favorite roller coaster ride in mind? Well that is how the N-YHS Summer 2015 Student Historian program felt to me personally. Before the program, I would rarely be found in a museum, especially in the summer when I could be home doing nothing, but this program opened my mind to a new perspective. During the first week of my internship, I was extremely shy and kept to myself because I didn’t know anyone except for my classmate, Errol Passard. However this quickly changed when after three weeks of icebreakers, the group of Student Historians started to feel more like a family than colleagues. There was a sense of respect and friendship in the workspace every time we met, which put a smile on everyone’s faces each morning. Our main objective this summer was to develop a tour about artifacts in the current N-YHS exhibition Art as Activism, where each tour guide would use one of the objects to tell the hidden details behind the art to different visiting tour groups.
My supervisors Chelsea, Hannah, and Sarah treated everyone with respect and gave us the guidance that we needed when we needed it. We went on several trips to cultural and historic organizations around New York City that related to our topic of Art as Activism and we would always come back the next day and critique our experience with particular focus on what could be improved. We called this “plus and delta.” We would then take this information to reflect on how we ourselves plan and lead tours. We would “plus and delta” one another’s tours, as well to see from a personal or colleague’s perspective how we might improve.
Besides working in the Museum, I also interned at IBM with Doris Gonzalez as they partnered up with N-YHS to create a new exhibit called Silicon City. My fellow Student Historian Errol and I were assigned to create a marketing plan, in which we would specifically attract the attention of young men and women aged 13–19 to learn all about the history of technology. This exhibit opens on November 13 and will include over 100 artifacts from IBM with items from the early 1920s through the present day. Beyond our work on the marketing plan, Errol and I also got the chance to program IBM robots, where we made them analyze manuscripts from old diaries with Watson software that we installed in them. We also visited the Archives of IBM in Somers, NY, and looked at the artifacts which will be included in the exhibit. We used all of this experience at IBM and N-YHS to develop methods to attract teenagers to the exhibit, as well as teachers, parents, principals, etc. We can’t wait to return to N-YHS when Silicon City opens in November!