Winter internship: Old Slater Mill, Pawtucket, R.I.
Award: Nancy Lyon Porter ’43 Fellowship
Major: History, art history
Local history: “Old Slater Mill is America’s first cotton mill and the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution in this country. Throughout the years I have taken many tours of the site; I thought it would be a good place to learn about American history. From January to March is the museum’s off-season, so there weren’t a lot of tours that went through. I did lots of small but important maintenance tasks like cleaning the 18th century machinery. I also helped with the mill’s eighth annual Knitting Weekend, which is a convention for knitters hosted in the Slater Mill site.I learned about collections management, disaster management and the inner workings of programming for a nonprofit museum institution.”
Showing her colors: “I’m most proud of having helped install the weekend exhibition ‘Life of Color’ by Saberah Malik. We hung up her textile pieces and placed her fiber sculpture around the museum premises, so I got to apply my installation skills learned from working in the Beard and Weil Galleries.”
Troubleshooting: “However unfortunate, I am also proud to say I assisted with organization for the disaster of pipes bursting in Slater Mill and survived a weeklong lack of heat in this winter weather. On the last day of my internship, my coworker Eleanor and I were searching for some raffle tickets from Knitting Weekend that went missing, with a strong suspicion they were accidentally tossed out. So, we had to dig through the dumpster a little bit and thankfully found the tickets. It was a learning experience in itself.”
Sense of community: “I felt wholly included in everything. On my first day there, everyone was equally busy but took turns sitting with me for a bit to eat their lunch while I ate mine. I found it to be a very similar environment to Wheaton in this aspect, since I have never once felt left out of anything while being at Wheaton thus far.”
Lessons learned (and spirits seen?): “I learned about collections management, disaster management and the inner workings of programming for a nonprofit museum institution. I also learned some interesting trivia about the museum itself and possibly had a paranormal experience in the Sylvanus Brown House (I’m convinced there were ghosts; my coworker Josh says otherwise).”