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My Top 10 Internship: A Parting Summary from Summer 2014

Where Are They Now? ,

Posted By Rebecca Guest
Updated: Wednesday, August 27, 2014

My summer internship with VAM is sadly coming to an end. I have enjoyed working closely with this year’s Top 10 Endangered Artifacts Program. I am so proud of the work that was accomplished this summer. I want to take a moment and share some of the results that came out of my internship.

On day one, I started contacting past participants of the Top 10 Program. Through e-mails and phone calls, I learned the status of Virginia’s endangered artifacts. Thank you to the organizations that embraced my inquiries. From the locomotive that received a $10,000 grant to the artifacts that are still waiting to be conserved, these updates help share public awareness for preservation efforts. If you are an organization that previously participated in the Top 10 Program, VAM wants to hear from you! Please share any updates on your artifact. The following chart outlines a few of the positive developments that have occurred since these artifacts were nominated to the Top 10. VAM is working on research to track the status of all Top 10 honorees (please note that this is a working list and will continue to be updated!).

Top 10 Year

Booker T. Washington National Monument


Photographs with cellulose nitrate negatives, 1957-1984

Film is currently being conserved in a freezer.

Hermitage Museum & Gardens


Korean 18thcentury Sakyamuni Triad silk tapestry

Repatriated back to Korea and is currently being conserved. Future plans include public display.

Klug-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia


Yolngu Bark Painting by Narritjin Maymuru, depicting Djarrakpi Story (Indonesian Trader Ship)

Currently being conserved and will be on display at UVA soon.

The Mariners’ Museum


USS Monitor’s Revolving Gun Turret

Currently in conservation. An estimated 18 years of work needs to be completed. Fundraising is needed.

Virginia Museum of Transportation


Norfolk & Western SD45 Diesel Locomotive #1776

Received $10,000 grant fromTrains Magazinetoward improvements to Locomotive #1776 thanks to its People’s Choice recognition.

Warren Rifles Confederate Memorial Museum


Confederate Battle Flag of Co. B, 6thVA Cavalry

Artifact has been conserved and is on display.

The Fairfield Foundation


Ware Neck Store Sales Receipts; c. 1870s-1930s

Documents cleaned and placed in proper storage. Artifacts scanned by VCU’s Virtual Curation Laboratory. Experts are assisting with the project.

Salem Museum


Records of African-American Midwife, Georgianna Saunders; c. 1916-1940

Records being transcribed and put in a database. People delivered by Georgianna Saunders have contacted the museum.

Tudor Place Historic House & Garden


George Washington’s Revolutionary War Camp Stool; c. 1776

Conserved by the Historic Trades Department of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, through a collaborative research project with the Museum of the American Revolution in association with Tudor Place.

Wilton House Museum


Waistcoat of Lieutenant Governor Alexander Spotswood; c. 18thcentury

Artifact is currently being conserved.

MacArthur Memorial


World War II Filipino and U.S. Guerilla Unit Flag, c. 1940s

Thanks to the support of a generous donor, the flag has been conserved and is on view!

St. John’s Church Foundation


Reverend Robert Rose Monument, 1751

St. John's oldest visible grave marker has been conserved! and will be dedicated on the anniversary of Rose's death on June 30, 2017.

I was happy to help motivate organizations to participate in this year’s Top 10 Program. I called, e-mailed, and even visited museums and cultural institutions leading up to the Top 10 submission deadline. Not only did new organizations nominate artifacts this year, but they also joined VAM as new members. I am thrilled that I was able to assist with applications and encourage new membership. This year’s Top 10 Program saw the most nominations to date. Thirty-six museums and cultural sites participated in the program this year. It was incredible to see the long list of nominees!

Several organizations invited me to visit this summer. I visited the Pamunkey Indian Museum and Cultural Center, the Fairfield Foundation, the Middle Peninsula Chapter of the Archeological Society of Virginia, the USS Monitor Conservation Lab, the Mariners’ Museum, and the Muscarelle Museum of Art. Thank you to the directors, docents, and volunteers for welcoming me. I enjoyed observing all the artifacts and interacting with staff members. I appreciate everyone’s kindness. I look forward to visiting all the organization’s that extended an invite to me over the next year.

Although my internship at VAM is coming to a close, my museum journey is just beginning. I am in my final year at VCU. I am excited about graduating this spring with a degree in history. I am preparing to apply to graduate schools and search for employment. I recently became a VAM member. I am planning on using my membership to aid my museum career. Thank you to the entire VAM staff and board members for your support during my summer internship. Words cannot express how grateful I am that VAM chose me for this amazing opportunity. I am appreciative of all your feedback and words of encouragement. I will cherish the lessons I learned this summer. This internship strengthened my interest in museum studies and public history. I am confident that this is the right career path for me.

Attached Thumbnails:

1. Working at the VAM office.
2. Viewing Chief Paul Miles’ Regalia at the Pamunkey Indian Museum and Cultural Center in King William County.
3. Observing the Fairfield Foundation’s 1883 Excelsior Cook Blast Stove at its lab in Gloucester County.
4. Observing copper alloy treatment at the USS Monitor Conservation Lab in Newport News, VA.