Hey there! I'm Jessie Sterling and I have been interning at the McLean County Museum of History this summer. I grew up right here in Bloomington-Normal and I can remember coming to the Museum for many field trips as well as going on the Evergreen Cemetery Walk a few times. As a child, I never really appreciated what was in this building as much as I did the lunches I ate out on the front steps and the beauty of the building itself. I spent a great deal of time on those field trips not even paying attention, but instead gawking at the amazing architecture this building has.
I had never imagined that I would end up in a museum, but I learned in high school that I was passionate about history, its preservation, and being a part of keeping history alive. Now, I am a junior at Ashford University in Clinton, Iowa with a major in History and minors in Arts Administration, Business Administration, and Organizational Management. With that, I hope to one day be a museum curator.
That being said, it is only fitting that I have been working hands on in collections for the past eight weeks. It has been extremely busy but also fun. I have gained experience working with all sorts of objects from clothes all the way to spinning wheels and glassware, and everything in between. It is amazing the number of objects that the museum has in its collections; there are things I never thought I would see with my own eyes.
I have worked on many projects including inventory, accessions, repairing objects, reevaluation of objects, photographing, and working in the Museum's database. The biggest project was helping put together an exhibit of wedding fashions on the 3rd floor. It was fun to pick out all of the objects, get them ready, make labels, and put them out on display. It gives me a great sense of pride knowing that visitors are going to be able to see how people in a different time lived and imagine that period because of the work I did. It feels extremely rewarding.
I have learned what it takes to work in the museum field, and the most important thing is passion. This field requires a lot of hard work, it doesn't have the highest pay grade, and the work is not always appreciated, so you have to really love what you do to get through it. Thankfully, I can say that I have loved every minute of my experience here and all of the people I have met. This has truly been a very eye-opening and enriching experience.