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WVU Libraries, Department of History Establish Internships

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
March 27th, 2007

WVU Intranet, March 23, 2007

The West Virginia and Regional History Collection (WVRHC) of the West Virginia University Libraries has teamed with the Department of History in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences to add two new internships to their longstanding instructional partnership.

The internships are being offered through the Department of History’s Public History and Cultural Resource Management (CRM) programs. Graduate students will have the opportunity to intern with the WVRHC’s printed ephemera and archives and manuscripts collections.

“I am delighted we have this new partnership with the West Virginia and Regional History Collection,” said Barbara Rasmussen, director of the Public History and CRM programs. “It allows for training in library and archive management and practices.”

The printed ephemera collection contains valuable printed information about West Virginia and central Appalachia. It consists of about 100,000 items such as pamphlets, newsletters, programs, brochures and flyers. Ephemera refers to written and printed matter published with a short intended lifetime.

The archives and manuscripts collection has approximately 20,000 linear feet of material documenting topics such as the American Revolution, Civil War, West Virginia statehood movement, politics, agriculture, churches, folk heritage, genealogy, arts and many others.

WVU librarian Anna Schein proposed the idea last semester for a printed ephemera collection internship through Public History and CRM.

“The new internship provides a professional curatorial experience to process and describe unprocessed printed ephemera,” she said. “The internship also provides an opportunity to help create an electronic finding aid for printed ephemera, which will be published on the WVRHC Web site.”

The creation of the printed ephemera internship led to a second internship with the archives and manuscripts collection under the direction of Michael Ridderbusch, assistant University librarian.

“This partnership is a win-win situation for the WVRHC and the Department of History,” Ridderbusch said. “The internships allow us to improve the description of and access to our collections while supporting the Public History and CRM programs.”

Kelly Wilson, the first intern to participate, is working 40 hours a week this semester at the WVRHC to complete a master’s degree in public history and become certified in CRM.

“This is a great opportunity for me to get my feet wet in archival processing using various methods of collecting and recording metadata,” she said. “This internship has shown me the importance of creating clear and accurate descriptions for manuscripts, archives and ephemera so that information can be made available to everyone regardless of cultural or linguistic barriers.”

The interdisciplinary Public History and CRM programs draw on courses from the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences; the Davis College of Agriculture, Forestry and Consumer Sciences; and the College of Creative Arts. Students in these programs train for careers with state park systems, libraries, firms and state or local government organizations that care for historic resources.

The WVRHC is located on the sixth floor of WVU’s Downtown Library Complex. It holds the largest collection of West Virginia archives in existence.

For more information about the internships, contact Rasmussen at 304-293-2421 ext. 5226 or Barbara.Rasmussen@mail.wvu.edu.

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