• Interns learn to create museum exhibit

  • Four college students received a full museum experience this summer that culminated in the installation of a new exhibit Aug. 7 at the Frontier Army Museum.

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  • Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
    Four college students received a full museum experience this summer that culminated in the installation of a new exhibit Aug. 7 at the Frontier Army Museum.
    Anthony Brigg, a junior in history at Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kan.; Toni Bettasso, a graduate student in history at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan.; Andrew Holland, a senior in anthropology at K-State; and Kaela Berg, a junior in anthropology at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan., worked together to create an exhibit that features pastimes of soldiers on the frontier.
    “It seemed like an under-researched part of history, and we thought it would be a good fit with the museum,” Brigg said.
    “(The exhibit) just shows a different aspect of a soldier’s life than what we expect,” Bettasso added.
    Though the FAM has had interns in the past, this was the first time they were ever given a task of creating an exhibit.
    “Creating an exhibit helps us give them a project that they have a start and an end to, and it helps to encompass all the different skills they can learn while working in a museum,” said Megan Hunter, FAM museum specialist. “They get to handle objects, they get to do research, they write text, they select the objects, and they also, while they are designing (the exhibit), have to think about who is going to view it and think about the education angle of it.
    “I really hope that they learned how much it takes to actually put an exhibit together. It is not just putting stuff in a case. It is a lot of thoughtful processing and critical thinking,” she said. “I think they did a really great job. …We loved having them here.”
    The exhibit features popular games such as playing cards and dice; instruments and music, such as the song “The Road to Kickapoo,” which was written by two soldiers in 1922 while they were stationed at Fort Leavenworth; leisure horseback riding and hunting; and other sports, like baseball and football.
    Bettasso said she thought it was incredible to create the exhibit.
    “It was really fun to be able to see the beginning research stages turn into an actual exhibit because as history majors, we do research every day, but being able to do that and choose artifacts that show the research that we did was really awesome,” she said. “It helped me to understand what in the future I’ll be doing if I work in a museum.”
    Holland said he learned the importance of having an eye for detail.
    “You have to have attention to detail,” Holland said. “You have to make it connect in some way, shape or form, but also make sure they have a purpose and that you’re telling a story. I think that is what we’ve done with this new exhibit that we’ve been working very hard on for the past month.
    Page 2 of 2 - “I’m fascinated with learning about U.S. and world history, preferably mid-19th century to the present,” he said. “Getting an internship at this museum helped me learn the ins and outs of working in collections, how to perform good research, how to document where artifacts go, make sure they are on a database, and it has all culminated in setting up this exhibit.”
    To learn more about the exhibit, visit the FAM.
    The FAM accepts interns year-round. Interns can volunteer from one to 40 hours per week. For more information, contact Hunter at megan.m.hunter4.civ@mail.mil.
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