By Clare O’Connor, 2017 Tom Desilets Memorial Intern
August 9, 2017
As my time at the Framingham History Center dwindles down to only a few days, my thoughts pertaining to this summer are marked by self-growth and learning a lot about what I like to do, what I can do, and what I want to do. It seems cliche (well, is it cliche) to start my goodbye blog post with a bit of a flashback, but I will just imagine it as a classic story-telling device. When I first got the email from Laura (FHC Museum Assistant/Education Coordinator) that I had been accepted as the 2017 Tom Desilets Memorial Intern, I re-read it maybe three times and could barely contain my excitement. I couldn’t wait for it to start and was imagining the work I would be doing. Since I had decided that my career was going to be involved with history, I had not had a job that supported this or offered any chance at getting my feet wet in the field. I didn’t know exactly what I was in for, but I knew that no matter what the opportunity to get involved with my chosen career path was going to be exceptional.
Despite my excitement, I was apprehensive. I had started to think that I did not want to be a high school history teacher anymore, and wanted to possibly pursue working a museum or getting my PhD to teach at the college level, and this was my chance to see if those options were viable for me. But I was still nervous- what if I started this internship, and realized I didn’t want anything to do with museums, education, or history ever again? Going back to the drawing board as a senior in college seemed scarier to me than any Stephen King book I had ever read. Or, what if I discovered that I wasn’t good at it, and my confidence as a young historian was unfounded? These thoughts were invasive in the weeks that led up to starting my internship, but were gone in a matter of days as I started the various projects I was tasked with. I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to the museum world as Laura, Annie, Stacen, Katie, Jennifer, and all the volunteers at the FHC provided me with a wealth of knowledge and assurance that allowed me to be successful these past 10 weeks. I had no idea that Framingham had such an extensive, unique, and downright important history. Getting to know this town (soon to be city) was not only enlightening but I also got to think about what I am capable of doing and learning. I can honestly say that I learned so much valuable information this summer – both historical content and about my future aspirations.
I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to experience many facets of working in a museum, from administrative tasks, to setting up exhibits, to costume collections and research. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the FHC and the Desilets family who sponsor this internship, because even though I still don’t know what’s in store for me after I get my diploma, the FHC has shown me that I love researching and learning, and helped me to think about my career goals.
In conclusion, I would like to thank the Desilets family and everyone at the Framingham History Center for providing me the opportunity to truly have an amazing summer. Without this experience, I would not have known how much I enjoy working in a museum setting and doing research to put together stories of the past. Moving forward, I am excited for what post-graduation brings and cannot wait to visit the FHC in the future to see the great things I know they will continue to do!