Intern perspectives on new media

Want to know more about the people behind this blog? Current intern Hannah Ostroff gives us a peek into her work and shares upcoming opportunities to join the ranks of Smithsonian interns.

I walk up to the museum, don my shiny intern badge (it's purple!), and take the elevator to a staff-only floor. Walking past the designers' area (which includes print-outs of panels they're working on for future exhibitions), I arrive at my desk in the building where history is made. I am an intern in the New Media department at the museum, and it's been an exciting journey.

 

Even on cloudy days, walking into this building for my internship feels special
Even on cloudy days, walking into this building for my internship feels special

Some people think of museums as institutions for the "old": old stuff, old people, or old media. That's not the case here. Our New Media department engages with Americans across a wide variety of digital platforms, and is constantly evolving to accommodate the developments of our ever-changing media world. One of our goals is to bring the museum experience to those who can't visit in person, so we do outreach through online exhibitions and educational materials. As an intern, I've had the chance to write blog posts, study human behavior online, and learn how a social media campaign unfolds (check out #FoodFriday from @amhistorymuseum).

I don't have a make-photocopies-and-fetch-coffee kind of internship—no Smithsonian interns do. Right now, I am tracking down Star-Spangled Banner-related stories for our upcoming blog post on Flag Day. One afternoon, I watched the flag folding event on the museum's second floor, and shared the photos I took over Instagram. Last month, I helped shape the editorial calendar for the blog by researching anniversaries, holidays, and other events to spark staff blog posts. In a moment of glory, I was mentioned in a museum-wide e-mail about our project to collect historic anniversaries as part of our five-year plan. (Did I forward the e-mail to my dad to print out for the fridge? You bet.) 

 

My Instagram photo of the flag folding event
My Instagram photo of the flag folding event

My internship experience extends beyond the office, though. Being a Smithsonian Institution intern means that I can participate in educational programs and events across the 19 museums, and involving a wide range of topics. Already, I've gone on a tour of our exhibitions, learned about library research methods, and attended a colloquium on mid-century music by a professor from my alma mater (Go Tribe!). Here at the Smithsonian, the learning never stops.

 
Smithsonian interns at the Morning at the Museum of Natural History event. Photo courtesy of Smithsonian Office of Fellowships & Internships.
Smithsonian interns at the Morning at the Museum of Natural History event. Photo courtesy of Smithsonian Office of Fellowships & Internships.

Want to learn from this innovative team? The New Media department is seeking two interns for fall 2013: editorial blogging assistant (that's my current role) and web design assistant. Check out our website for the full descriptions and some tips I gathered for landing your spot.

My internship is in New Media, but that's not the only opportunity here at the museum. I've met interns working to organize press events in the Public Affairs department as well as interns doing research on artifacts in curatorial divisions. Explore all of our internship opportunities and get those applications in soon—the deadline is July 1!

Hannah Ostroff is a New Media intern and member of the William & Mary Class of 2013.

Posted at 5:43 pm EDT in Intern Perspectives