Inside out | Let’s shine a light on this semester’s Illinois Distributed Museum interns

By Chicago 4 Min Read

Each semester, the Illinois Distributed Museum hosts interns from the University of Illinois Department of History.

These students are interested in careers that allow them to teach history to others and help people understand our past to better plan for our future.

Our interns often come to the internship with great research skills, and we continue to develop their skills throughout the semester.

Some of them have never done archival research, so it is exciting for them to see how the University Archives preserves many unique documents and materials.

After researching the topic related to innovation and innovators at the UI, students begin writing their online exhibits.

We discuss best practices for museum exhibitions, both for physical exhibitions and how these apply to digital exhibitions.

We share ways in which writing for exhibitions and audiences is different from the academic writing they are used to. This means short snippets and jargon-free content.

The interns discover many interesting facts, but not all of them can be included in the exhibit, so they must determine what best fits the story of innovation.

Students then submit a draft of their exhibition, which is edited and checked by staff. Staff will also look for other sources of information on the topic to ensure there is a complete picture of the topic.

The Illinois Distributed Museum has had wonderful interns over the past five years, and this semester’s interns are no exception.

Below are some exhibits our interns worked on this semester:

Morgan Fox he’s working on one of our touring exhibitions, so his pieces need to be shorter so people can read them quickly. One of the stops on his tour focuses on William “Bill” Cochran Jr. and his development of radiotelemetry equipment for tracking animals. Cochran developed technology to track smaller animals such as birds, rabbits and raccoons by attaching harnesses or collars to the animals. His equipment was light enough not to alter the animals’ behaviors.Chris Gimbel worked on an exhibit about Marion Sparks. Sparks was the chemistry librarian of the Chemistry Library, the first departmental library on campus in the early 1900s. He published “Chemical Literature and Its Uses,” one of the first guides to chemical literature, and explains why it is important for students to chemistry learn to research chemistry and its history.Jon Haddad wrote about Marguerite Pease, a historian of Illinois and the war. She wrote “The Story of Illinois” with her husband and finished and published it after he died while they were writing it. She was also director of the Illinois Historical Survey from 1959 to 1964.Matteo SummerShe researched and wrote her own show about Louise B. Dunbar. Dunbar joined the university’s History Department in 1920. She published on American history, particularly the political and social forces that influenced the creation of the United States.

You can read more about the students’ work on the Illinois Distributed Museum website.

The Illinois Distributed Museum offers online content on user interface innovations.

The Illinois Distributed Museum is a project under the direction of the University of Illinois Archives.

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