Grant enables VC museum to hire two summer interns

Glory Turnbull, left, and Rachael Hall are assisting Victoria College’s Museum of the Coastal Bend as summer interns.

Victoria College’s Museum of the Coastal Bend has hired two collections interns for this summer thanks to funding received from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services’ Inspire! Grants for Small Museums program.

Rachael Hall, who is pursuing a Master of Arts degree in museum studies at the University of Oklahoma, and Glory Turnbull, who is working toward a Masters of Arts degree in public history at St. Mary’s University, will rehouse and catalog collections, and categorize items for digitization or comparative research purposes.

The $49,997 grant will allow the museum to also hire graduate-level interns next summer.

“We were one of only 30 grantees awarded out of 202 applicants,” said Heather Para, the museum’s exhibits and collections manager. “It’s been the museum’s goal to create a publicly accessible online database of its artifacts for research or general use.”

Hall, who is from Bluejacket, Okla., developed a passion for preservation of history at an early age.

“I spent a lot of time with great-grandparents and listened to their stories and read a lot of books,” Hall said. “Touring museums during my homeschooling education purposes as a child also made me want to be able to contribute to the preservation and storage of history in a general sense as well.”

Hall, who plans on a career in museum archival and collections work, said she is eager to learn more about the history of the Coastal Bend.

“I want to get some experience with real-life museum work and gain a new view of history at a museum I’ve never been to before,” Hall said.

Turnbull, who is from Corpus Christi, likens the internship at the museum to the Raiders of the Lost Ark movie series.

“I enjoy putting my organizational skills to use and seeing the full glory of what a museum holds,” Turnbull said. “Museum collections make me think of the huge warehouse in the Indiana Jones movies. Who knows how much cool stuff lies within?”

Turnbull’s career options are open.

“I’m not sure exactly what the future holds, so this experience will help me gain insight into future career paths,” Turnbull said.

The Inspire! Grants for Small Museums program was created to reduce the burden on small museums and help them address priorities identified in their strategic plans. Grant proposals could focus on learning experiences, community partnerships, collections stewardship or expanding access to collections and resources.

The grant will allow Para, who was hired as the museum’s exhibits and collections manager in January, to apply her training in photogrammetry for archaeology to create 3-D images of some of the museum’s artifacts. This will enable the public to interact with the museum’s collections digitally.