"My internship at the Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society (PSMHS) has been an informative experience about the inner workings of a small organization. ... I was able to perform tasks from all across the museum world like: rehousing, customer service, ordering paper goods, organizing storage, PastPerfect, outreach, accessions/deaccessions, and reconciling loaned objects. I think it is a great experience to work in a small museum because you feel more connected to the overall mission and core of the institution."
When I first showed up, I was surprised at the location of PSMHS in the basement of MOHAI. They have no exhibit areas since they closed down the satellite location at Chandler’s Cove last year and the tiny office is overflowing with paperwork and artifacts. My first project was working on rehousing a collection for storage, which was interesting and educational. I packed this collection for permanent storage using all the archival materials I have been learning about all quarter in the collections class. After the rehousing project, I worked on tidying up names in PastPerfect. Many home locations were listed in multiple ways and Karen wanted me to streamline the nomenclature to better reflect the location of the offsite objects. This was a great experience in familiarizing myself with PastPerfect, a program I had not worked with before. This was very beneficial for my collections lab class, because I gained a basic understanding of the program ahead of time.
While learning about PastPerfect, I worked on writing a collections policy on submerged artifacts. An underwater archaeology team had been diving in Lake Union and bringing up maritime artifacts. PSMHS was offered an object and refused it because they felt it did not fit the mission and at this time, they realized there was no policy about submerged objects. The item was then offered to the Center for Wooden Boats. I spent many hours on the computer searching other maritime organizations regarding their policies for underwater archaeology.
I have certainly learned all aspects of a smaller museum and I think this was a great opportunity. I will take these skills with me into my own professional and academic career.