Hello! My name is Karina. During the Spring of 2022, I had the honor of interning for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM). I worked remotely on the History Unfolded project with Eric Schmalz, the community manager, who tailored the internship for my career goals. My main goals were to explore career paths within museums and strengthen my research and outreach skills. Thanks to the experience I had with this amazing institution and staff, I have furthered my goals.
Since the beginning of the internship, Eric has been attentive to my interests – collections and education. I had the privilege of speaking with the director of collections services, the chief of collections management, and a curator. They broke down the career roles relating with collections and painted a picture of what that entails within their institution. After speaking with each, I thought I knew which career path to take. At the end, I fell in love with all three career paths.
At the same time my passion for education grew with Eric’s help. He not only allowed me to be part of the meetings with all staff of the History Unfolded project, but asked for my thoughts and opinions. These experiences opened my mind as to the endless possibilities of how one can combine interests and skills, like that of the education outreach specialist. Working with both students and adults, highlighted the importance of education within a museum. USHMM helps educate vast audiences about the Holocaust, but it would not be possible without the help of contributors submitting research.
I am proud to say I too am a contributor to an amazing project that has approved nearly 50,000 articles. I learned so much from this experience. It was like uncovering a hidden treasure – here being primary sources. In order to understand the chronology of events, I researched the events as they appear in order at History Unfolded: US Newspapers and the Holocaust (ushmm.org) . One by one, I clicked on each event, read the background information and reviewed what to look for when researching the event. Once I found an article containing the suggested keywords, I checked the dates. If the publishing date was within the timeframe, I went onto reading the article’s content and checking if the article had previously been submitted. This approach in the long run helps reviewers from the back-end, as I too got to experience approving or disapproving submissions.
Outreach in inviting volunteers to contribute has been a crucial part of this project’s success, whether through emails, presentations, or social media. I have been lucky enough to participate in zoom meetings where students are introduced to this project and shown step-by-step the submission process. Whether students are required to submit a certain amount of articles for a grade or not, I have witnessed the impact the research aspect of this project has had on young contributors. Even older folks that enjoy being historians have had a great experience as we have had several participants in our latest virtual research sprint with the Library of Congress, which occurred April 18th. I was amazed to see the outreach went as far as to Mexico and Canada.
Though my internship has come to an end, my love and contribution has not. I hope to continue to learn about the Holocaust and contribute more newspaper articles, which I encourage everyone to do as well. Interning for History Unfolded has been an amazing experience due to its purpose and because Eric Schmalz has played a role in helping me find my purpose.