Where did you do your internship?
Mackinac State Historic Parks in Mackinaw City, MI, USA. I was the Exhibit Technician Intern to the Exhibit Designer Keeney Swearer.
What about this institution appealed to you when choosing an internship site?
There have been many CMU students who have done internships with Mackinac State Historic Parks. I'd only heard good things, from past and present students, plus it was far enough away from home where I'd be mostly independent over the summer. It also included working in Mackinaw City and on Mackinaw Island, which is a beautiful area, and the internship that I had was a blast.
Tell us about a project you worked on during your internship.
The thing I did most over my internship was fabricating acrylic mounts for artifacts. The Parks is going to be opening a new Shipwreck museum in September, so I spent a lot of time designing and building mounts that would hold the artifacts in the museum. We worked mostly with acrylic, and often used a variety of power tools and hand tools. Surprisingly the most time consuming part of these projects was sanding and polishing the acrylic.
However, one of the more fun projects was building and welding a metal frame and sewing it into a mannequin.
What was your typical day like during your internship?
I worked 8am-5pm Mondays through Fridays. However, there wasn't a "typical day"; that was what was my favorite thing about the internship was. Every day was different.
However, the things I did often were: emptying dehumidifiers, replacing light bulbs, checking all the sites, making minor repairs, fixing electronics, and building exhibits.
What was your favorite part of your internship?
My favorite part was the variety of things that I learned about and got to do. I also enjoyed being so involved with everyone who worked at the parks - not just the employees (GSRs, interpreters, park ops), but also the administrative staff up to the Park's Director Phil Porter.
Were there any unique aspects of this internship site?
There is no stipend, but housing was provided. It's right across the street from Fort Michilimackinac, which is pretty cool, and is in walking distance of Mackinaw City and the docks to Mackinaw Island.
Do you have any advice for students searching for internships or preparing to start their internship?
Start looking early!! Seriously! There are so many different opportunities, and they're all competitive. Some of them are pretty cool and do offer a stipend or at least housing. Get going!
Did any exciting opportunities arise as a result of completing your internship here?
It's only been one week since I've completed the internship, so not as of yet, but I'm sure that things will arise in the future. It's a very tight knit group of people.
What is your name?
Would you recommend this internship site to others? Why or why not?
Yes! For one summer of experience and independence, Mackinac State Historic Parks is a great place to work. Everyone is friendly and helpful and it's not hard to get the hang of things. Plus, if you're curious about doing other jobs or learning other skills while you're up there, they're very accommodating and they do their best to help you learn as much as you can. It's also close to a lot of other great sites to visit - the Oswald Bear Ranch, Tahquamenon Falls, The Dark Sky Forest, and a ton of other places.