Casey Wooster and Kristin Conwill are a long way from their home in Gainesville, Florida. For the past ten weeks the two University of Florida (UF) graduate students have been participating in the Marco Island Historical Society’s (MIHS) internship program.
Conwill and Wooster are both pursing advanced degrees in museum studies. Conwill’s concentration is in historical preservation and collections management while Wooster is focused on digital humanities, which she described as the perusal of new platforms in which to express the humanities through.
As interns, Conwill and Wooster are responsible for rehousing the museum’s archeological collections as part of the National Endowment for the Humanities grant the museumwas recently awarded. The duo has been busy labeling objects, creating archival boxes, and assisting in the development of new programs and exhibits. Currently, Wooster and Conwill are working on revamping a driving tour of historical sights on Marco Island.
“As far as this internship goes, we have a handful of projects were working on,” Conwill said. “But within those projects the main goal is for us to learn how to do these things and to assist [with] whatever they need by doing it.”
Additionally, the two are aiding in the creation of a new temporary exhibit titled, “I Remember Marco,” which will open next summer. According toWooster, the exhibit promises to be exciting and interactive.
“We’ve been able to do a lot of other projects that are involved in museums,” Wooster said.
Austin Bell, Curator of Collections for MIHS and UF alumnus says that having two UF students is like having “a little slice of UF down this far.” Bell graduated with the same degree that the two interns are pursuing. He even had Wooster as a student. He says it’s great having young people involved in the museum because they bring “fresh ideas and perspectives and know what’s trending in the museum field.”
“It’s kind of awesome having Austin and Katie (MIHS curatorial assistant)who both have these degrees as well because they know that in the real world you’re going to need to know how to rehouse something, so let’s go ahead and teach you and you can help our collections out because that’s what needs to be done anyways,” Conwill said.
Conwill and Wooster are almost done with the program and will head back up to Gainesville within the next few weeks. But their influence on the museum remains. Stay tuned for the upcoming driving tour as well as the 2018 exhibit, “I Remember Marco.”
If you would like more information on the Marco Island Historical Society visit themihs.info or call 239-389-6447.