I just completed the first week of my internship working with Yellowstone National Park’s museum collections. The week was definitely one full of introductions and orientation. I’ve never worked with a museum collection before, so I am learning a lot about collections management as well as Yellowstone National Park.
I am so lucky to be working in Yellowstone over the summer. The park is on my mind frequently as lots of my academic interests involve Yellowstone’s wolves. The primary responsibility of my internship is to digitally catalog the collections’ cultural artifacts and natural specimens into a database to make them more accessible to researchers. Therefore, I spent a lot of my first week learning about how to catalog. The process not only includes entering items digitally, I have to photograph items, mark items with a catalog number and properly store items in the collections’ storage area. On Friday I cataloged wolf skulls, which was very exciting for me, because I could physically interact with the animals that I so frequently research about. See the image below of a skull of a very young adult female wolf, 1016F.
I also toured the beautiful Yellowstone Heritage Research Center, the facility that houses the park’s library, archive and museum collections. Also because I am working with the museums department, on Thursday we took a curatorial tour of the Yellowstone. We went to the different exhibits throughout the park that the museums department manages. We went to exhibits in Norris, Old Faithful, Lake Hotel, and Canyon. We took inventory of museum collections items on exhibit and learned about how the museums staff actively manages items outside of the Heritage Research Center.
I learned a lot this first week and am only starting to fully delve into my work. As I move into the future, I hope to find the hidden parts of Yellowstone’s past the different pieces of the collection have to reveal.