Student: Alicia Reuter ’10
Program: Nonprofit Academic Internship
Project: Archivist at the Northfield Historical Society
Please describe your project.
I am the archivist at the Northfield Historical Society, which involves: accessioning, processing, conservation and reference. I also recruit, interview and supervise the interns working in the archives and collections. When research requests come in, usually by phone or email, I find the information they are looking for, and I also assist researchers who come in to use the reference room. This semester, I have written procedure manuals covering all regular archival procedures as well as introductory materials for new volunteers and interns.
How did you have an impact? What was your greatest contribution?
In my two years working for NHS, I have made a substantial impact on their archives. I came in just as their previous archives volunteer had to leave suddenly for health reasons. Over the time I have worked there, I have taken on more projects and responsibilities, going beyond the day-to-day managing of the archives, to working both backward and forward: eliminating the backlog of work, as well as creating a systematic means of continuing to manage the archive after I leave. I have made efforts in recruiting more interns at St. Olaf in hopes that they will help to continue the smooth management of the archives.
How did this experience change you?
My work at NHS has had a tremendous effect on my professional development. I came into NHS two years ago, knowing I wanted to be an archivist, but not knowing exactly what the job of an archivist consisted of. I since have taken over the full management of an entire archive. I mostly paved my own way, slowly learning how to answer my own questions and work more and more independently. Since I started at NHS, I have volunteered in other archives around the country, but none of these experiences has been any more fun, rewarding, or meaningful than my internship at NHS.