Friday, August 10, 2012

Intern Spotlight

Name: Katharine Klein

Hometown: Burr Ridge, IL

Internship Period: Summer 2012

What am I doing here at the Russell Library? I have been working closely with the amazing duo Jan Levinson and Jill Severn in developing the newest rotation for the six small cases in the History Lives Showcase Gallery. These cases touch upon the six key collecting areas of Russell Library (politics, social relations, public good, environment, economy, and peace and war) and feature key documents and artifacts from the collections. When I am not working on the exhibitions, I am transcribing the Reflections on Georgia Politics interviews. Although this work can be tedious and it takes great concentration, the stories shared in these interviews give wonderful glimpses on history that cannot be learned from a textbook and I’m happy to be doing my part in bringing them to light. Plus, I’ve developed a deep appreciation for interviewer Bob Short’s voice and infectious laugh.

Education: I have a B.A. in History and in Greek & Roman Studies from Illinois Wesleyan University and recently obtained a M.A. in Public History with a museum concentration from the University of South Carolina.

I knew I was sucker for history when… I learned princes and princesses still existed. Once I knew this little fact, I was hooked. Of course, I was only just about to enter the first grade so I had to wait a bit to explore history on my own but this was a good thing because I also thought at the time this meant Sleeping Beauty was real. So really, my love for history stemmed from my attempts to prove that Prince Phillip really fought an evil queen/dragon and awakened the sleeping princess with a kiss. From following the lives of kings and queens, I also discovered my other favorite subject, Greek and Roman mythology.

The best part of my internship so far… Reading WWII love letters, deciphering the personal entries of an ambassador surviving a crisis, listening to someone’s account of the Freedom Riders arriving in Montgomery, etc., etc. Picking one thing as the best part would be like picking my favorite among M&Ms, Twix, or Snickers. It’s all good!

If I wasn’t spending time in the archives, my alter ego would be pursuing a career in…
Advertising. I’d love the chance to create a memorable slogan like “A diamond is forever” or “Think Small.” I’ve studied Bill Bernbach and researched in the N.W. Ayer’s collection before and I simply love the idea that a combination of two or three words can represent so much more.  

On days off, I’ll be…exploring. Nothing beats a good walk or drive to nowhere and you never know what you may find.

In five years I see myself…creating culturally significant exhibitions that will generate some meaningful conversations. My goal in life is to make some lasting impact on the world that will make some other historian study me. If I get this done in 5 years, I think I see myself also retired because I must have spent the previous four working like crazy.

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