By Rachael Bogema
One of my favorite parts of summer at Chucalissa is the constant flurry of people coming through the museum. Summer is our busy season here, meaning thousands of visitors from all over the world come to view our exhibits, participate in our events, and sweat profusely in the Memphis heat! June, July, and August also mean that summer internships are in full swing at Chucalissa. We currently have several interns working to curate our collections, organize and digitize our library and photographs, and develop curriculum for programs and events. One of the joys of working for a small museum is that our regular staff develops close relationships with our many interns, as we simply could not live through our mission without them! One of the joys of interning at a small institution is that often you can develop the internship around your academic interests and pursuits. This is the case for one of our summer interns, Michael Jeu.
Michael is a senior at the University of Memphis, and is studying Anthropology, Geoarchaeology, and Chinese. Michael’s internship has evolved over the past few weeks to encompass many projects that have been prioritized to bring our collections up to best standards. His first project was to help complete a physical inventory of our collection, one of the top recommendations provided to us in our last assessment by the American Association of Museums. Michael sorted over 200 boxes of collections, ensuring that every artifact was accounted for!
Michael then moved on to cataloging some of the larger pieces in our collection. He described the process as “going through about 10 boxes of whole ceramic vessels. I cleaned them, briefly described them, and photographed them. Then I typed out all of the information to be used in the larger catalog.”
Michael’s third project “was about the arts of lithics. I’m really fascinated in lithics since I enjoy archaeology and geology together. So, I went through a collection from Robert Ford and picked out many examples of projectile points, or what you call arrowheads. Dr. Connolly gave me this great project with a guide called: Archaeological Report No. 31: Mississippi Projectile Point Guide. I took this book to identify all of the projectile point artifacts. I took them out of their original bags to put them into new bags and labeled them with the time periods of archaeology: Paleoindian, Archaic, or Woodland periods. From this, museum visitors can learn the development of lithics through their advancement.” Michael will continue to work on this project for the duration of his internship.
When not curating collections at Chucalissa, Michael enjoys playing the alto saxophone, drawing, collecting, visiting museums, and researching Chinese archaeology. Michael’s internship has proven to satisfy both his academic and personal interests in archaeology and museums. This satisfaction is something we strive for with every internship at Chucalissa. It is so rewarding to witness someone’s formal and informal educational interests come together in a meaningful project- it is one of the reasons I love working for museums!
I hope to provide more information on our other interns throughout the summer, to highlight all of the great things they are accomplishing at the museum. In the meantime, be sure to contact us if you are interested in interning at Chucalissa- we host internships year round, and are happy to help mentor your interests!
Rachael Bogema is the Administrative Associate at the C.H. Nash Museum.