July 01--It's an annual rite of passage, from college classrooms to summer internships, offering students the opportunity to get real hands-on experience. ENMU-Ruidoso offers internships in almost every discipline of the college, said Community Eduction Director Coda Omness.
"We utilize local businesses and departments within the college to provide opportunities for students to get experience and to get them ready for work."
The Hubbard Museum of the American West is the longest running internship the college offers. Students work anywhere from eight to 16 hours per week for one semester and instead of pay, they receive one or two credits for their efforts.
Two students recently completed semester-long internships at the Hubbard. They wrote about their experiences.
My Internship at the Hubbard
When asked if I would be interested in an internship at the Hubbard Museum of the American West now owned and operated by the village of Ruidoso Downs, I had mixed feelings. Ever since I became a history major at ENMU-Ruidoso people began asking me why. I had no other reason other than simply being drawn to it, but the conversation usually always ended with, "Well, you could probably work in a museum." So, naturally I began to avoid this idea. Please don't misunderstand -- I love visiting museums but the thought of people narrowing down my potential into working at a museum did not thrill me. After thinking it over however, I decided to go for it and I can honestly say that I am glad I did. What surprised me about the workings of a museum is how many different facets to running a museum there really are.
One of the tasks I was able to do is scan some of the many negatives of the late Carmon Phillips, Lincoln county photographer. His is a massive 6,000 photo collection spanning over many decades and encompassing life in Ruidoso and Lincoln County. One day, for example, I sleeved, labeled, and scanned thirty negatives.
A second great experience I had was installing the "Beyond Tradition" fiber art exhibit that opened at the museum. I helped in the building of this exhibit. Putting it up was slightly hectic at times but it turned out beautifully. Labels had to be cut for each item and I worked hanging and placing the labels. This exhibit area was dark so I placed some L.E.D. track light fixtures to add into the tracks to light them. For someone who is generally not interested in quilts and the like, I am impressed by the work these artists, mostly women, have done.
I was also impressed with the professionalism of the staff. As an intern I had supervision and even had a performance review.
After taking part in this internship, I have much admiration for the small staff and the wonderful volunteers who dedicate themselves to making the Hubbard a great place to bring friends and family. Overall, it was a tremendous experience and I got to learn about the inner workings of a museum. I urge anyone in history or art attending ENMU-Ruidoso to take advantage of the internship program.
Internship offered insight
The Hubbard Museum of the American West is one of Ruidoso Down's best sites to visit. Not only is it a prominent destination for tourists and visitors, it is a wonderful place for county residents. Ruidoso Down residents get in for $1.00. I had the privilege of an internship at the Hubbard through ENMU-Ruidoso's History, Humanities, and Social Science department. I learned what it would be like working in a museum.
I must admit, prior to working at the Hubbard museum I had only visited the museum during a history class trip and not as a longtime resident of Ruidoso. What I have come to learn since then and after completing my internship is that not many locals visit the museum though a great number of tourists certainly do. Each time I went to the museum, I was always fascinated by what I saw. No matter how many times I've walked around the exhibits and how familiar I am with what I have seen, I felt that sense of captivating interest and wonder. Working at the Hubbard has been a great experience that I have come to appreciate immensely.
The museum staff was so kind and wonderful and were a major influence in making my internship experience engaging. I worked with many of them on various tasks. I worked with Phillip Collins, museum technician, who oversaw interns and evaluated our performance and who taught us new skills. Collins helped me understand what I needed to learn in order to perform well in a museum. I learned to be flexible. I observed and helped remove exhibits and install new ones. That kind of process occurred after several months would pass. I also learned how to create labels for the displays. I wrote out a few drafts of compressed information and facts for one labeling project. The Hubbard has also committed itself to serving the Spanish-speaking audience with new Spanish text. Indeed, about a third of the tourists come from Mexico.
Other tasks involved scanning photographs that are part of the immense collection of Carmon Phillips, Ruidoso photographer. We archived these photos and made a digital file for possible future use in displaying. I also spent time working in the gift shop and saw many people come through from different distant places such as Germany and South Africa. I listened to their interesting stories when they wanted to engage in discussion. I also helped sort through files, located documents, and organized letters. I took every advantage of every opportunity to observe all that I could in the museum and to appreciate its surroundings. When there was a little down time I walked around the building, looking and thinking what a great atmosphere it was to be working in.
My internship at the Ruidoso Downs city-owned Hubbard Museum has given me significant insight into a wide variety of operations, giving me the chance to expand my abilities far beyond what I had initially expected. I was given this incredible opportunity. My gratitude also extends to the staff at the Hubbard Museum who taught me a great deal and who accepted me into their program. I feel that my experience working at the Hubbard has helped me to learn about different tasks and jobs that I was unfamiliar with. I have truly enjoyed spending every moment working there.
Reporter Kelly Brooks can be reached at (575) 257-4001 ext. 4114.
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