Patrice Green is a Smithsonian Minority Awards Intern with Smithsonian Libraries at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. She is currently pursuing a dual master’s in Public History and Library and Information Science at the University of South Carolina, where her focus is Archives and Preservation Management.
As a public history and library/information science student at the University of South Carolina, I often find myself confronting living memory. In the archives profession, it becomes even more apparent, especially when cultivating relationships with donors, friends, and other supporters of an information or cultural institution. This summer, I had the wonderful opportunity to intern as a Minority Awards Scholar with Smithsonian Libraries (SIL) at the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), funded generously by the Office of Fellowships and Internships (OFI) and supervised by archivist Ja-Zette Marshburn. In these ten weeks, I have learned a tremendous amount about the profession of archives, libraries, and museums. I gained experience in everything from data entry and object handling to consulting and appraisal. I discovered the depth of the collections at the Smithsonian, as well as how far the subject matter spreads. I learned exactly how important it was to separate archival collections from curatorial ones. Perhaps most importantly, I was reminded that the profession is all about stories and those who work to preserve them.