This summer, we welcomed a wonderful group of interns into our collections, education, and marketing departments. Our interns worked on creating new tour content with previously uncatalogued materials, developed teacher workshops on Native American history, helped install our program galleries, and much more. Keep reading to learn more about their experiences interning at The Rosenbach.
“I’m a junior at Harvard studying History & Literature, with a focus on the medieval world. I’m also completing a citation in Latin. I have a background in special collections, as I’ve previously interned across the city at the Library Company and the National Museum of American Jewish History. But I hadn’t yet experienced the triple threat museum/library/historic house that is The Rosenbach. I’m happy to report that this magical place is everything I hoped it would be.
This summer, I worked with the Rosenbach’s registrar, Jobi Zink, on a ton of different projects. Having a finger in every pie is basically what registrars do: they organize loans, install exhibitions, inventory the collections, and more. On my very first day I helped deinstall the Spring Program Gallery to make way for the summer’s selection of program-related objects. Since then, I’ve inventoried the American Manuscript collection (my favorite find was a letter from Thomas Jefferson to James Madison about a sculptor for a statue of George Washington), made a soon-to-be-available collections guide for our incunabula (books printed before 1500), and assisted with securing the loans for several exhibitions. With my background, I was especially pleased to work on loans for an exhibition of medieval manuscripts digitized by BiblioPhilly, that will be opening at the Free Library’s Central Branch next spring. However, my favorite part of my internship was the day we transported both a harp and some harpoons (for Bloomsday 2019 and the upcoming American Voyager: Herman Melville at 200 exhibit, respectively). It was pretty great pretending to poke people with 19th century whaling implements! Overall, I’ve had a ton of fun this summer, gotten to handle some really interesting rare books, and reaffirmed just how much I want to work in special collections when I grow up. Thanks, Rosenstaff!”
– Diana Myers, Collections Department Intern
Intern Diana Myers works alongside other Rosenstaff members to determine the best placement for some of the historic whaling
implements featured in the very gallery where Moby-Dick will be displayed in American Voyager: Herman Melville at 200.
“My name is Aaya Kingsbury. I joined The Rosenbach as an intern on 9 July 2019. Before coming to The Rosenbach I was teaching English abroad in Cuenca, Ecuador. I grew up in Philadelphia, and even remember taking a field trip to The Rosenbach and I am very excited to be part of the team here. I studied history as an undergraduate and will shortly begin my Masters in history at the University of Delaware. I have always had a passion for history and interning at The Rosenbach has allowed me to explore different aspects of working in the historical field. I, along with another intern, have been working on developing a new Behind the Bookcase: Hands-on Tour showcasing previously uncatalogued Mexican government broadsides. This tour connects both colonial and post-colonial Mexico to today’s civic issues. These documents also highlight the diverse collections The Rosenbach has in its possession. I am excited to share our project with the public and other members of The Rosenbach team.”
– Aaya Kingsbury, Collections Department Intern
Printed proclamations relating to Mexico and Texas, 1800-1844, featured in Mexico: Race and Revolution in the Borderlands, a new Behind the Bookcase tour.
“My name is Scott Long, and I am a PhD candidate in Spanish at the University of Pennsylvania. I took the opportunity to intern at the Rosenbach Museum and Library because I wanted to find ways of taking my interest in Spanish and Latin American history outside of the usual venues of classrooms and conferences, using rare materials as a way to engage the general public.
I am helping to design a Hands-on Tour which centers around an unexplored collection of printed documents from colonial and early-independence Mexico, a collection which the founder, Dr. Rosenbach, compiled himself. The combination of a relatively unknown group of items, plus the timely geopolitical matter of Mexican-American relations, is an ideal way in which to generate a conversation relevant to present concerns, while also remaining loyal to the library’s mission and purpose. When we think of Mexico from a U.S. perspective, we might turn to the usual list of cross-border economic and security issues. However, how many Americans know that the first printing press in the Americas was established in Mexico City? How many know that the first truly global trade between Asia and the West flowed through Mexico (or as the Spanish called their colony, “Nueva España)? Mexico in the seventeen and eighteen hundreds was a complex web of Europeans, Indigenous peoples, Mestizos (people of mixed european and indigenous ancestry) and African peoples as well. This is the story we hope to begin telling through this tour – the movement of people, goods, and information around the continent shared by Mexico and the United States. Items in this tour include an 1814 census form with contemporary social categories, an 1811 copy of the Diario de Mexico, an anti-colonial and pro-revolutionary Mexican newspaper, and testimonials of an African slave who was put on trial by the Spanish Inquisition.”
– Scott Long, Collections Department Intern
“My name is Katherine Rossbach – I am an education intern here at The Rosenbach. I am currently working towards an MA in Library and Information Science, with a concentration in Museum Studies. I also teach high school English literature at a high school in New Jersey.
This summer, I have been working on multiple projects with Emilie Parker, the Hirsig Family Director of Education. One of my favorite projects, due to my personal interest in medical history, is creating a teacher resource guide to the yellow fever epidemic, inspired by and connected to the book Fever, 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson. This book is read in the Philadelphia School District, and the resource will contain information from documents in our collection – some of them from personal letters exchanged at the time!
Another project I have been working on is a teacher workshop that will be in partnership with the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Native American History. The Rosenbach collection has so many different objects and documents about and by Native Americans! Attending one of the Hands-on Tours about the Native American documents and being able to read and research these texts has been very interesting, and so valuable.
These are only a few of the things that I have worked on in just a short amount of time this summer. I am so happy and thankful that I have been able to work with the amazing staff here at The Rosenbach – the experience has been so valuable and wonderful!”
– Katherine Rossbach, Education Intern