I started my Regenstien internship this summer on June 13th. Although I worked at the museum in the winter, I was going to be working in a different section this time, and was a little nervous. The first day I was mostly occupied with orientation where I met many of my fellow interns. We were all excited and to begin work at the Field Museum, and once I began talking with them my nervousness melted away. Throughout the first week I learned all the basics about my position-including how to navigate up to our third floor offices! The Field Museum is a labyrinth of corridors and elevators that I got lost in many times. The new summer interns are easy to distinguish since they wander around always looking a little unsure. I am pleased to say, however, that after three weeks I am looking less like a wide-eyed new intern, and more like a staff member who knows where I am going. A few times my boss has asked me to go somewhere and I realize I don't know how to get there, but that does not happen too often.
I work in lower level 1, the first basment level of the museum. This floor contains five storage units filled with anthropological artifacts. I have been working in the Pacific section, and more specifically, Polynesia. Many of the tasks I have been doing in the Polynesia section my fellow intern Deanna is doing in the African section. Deanna began work about three weeks before me and has been a big help in explaining the different tasks. My tasks include doing inventory of all the artifacts, creating and applying barcodes for all the shelves, digitizing the information we have about the artifact, including catalog cards, and creating supportive boxes for all of the artifacts.
Working at the museum so far has been enjoyable and very informative. It is thrilling to learn something new about Polynesian culture every day. I have recently learned about how the production of tools and decorative paddles has changed over time as many are currently being sold as tourist attractions rather than being used for their intial intention. Because of the Field Museum's extensive collection it is clear to see exactly when this transition happened. This past week the collections managers began working on a project which require them to examine mummies from Egypt and Peru. This project is set to begin next week, and while I will only be involved at the end of the project, hopefully I will have more to say about mummies next time.
To learn more about the Field Museum's Pacific collections please visit: https://sites.google.com/a/fieldmuseum.org/pacific-web/