The College of St. Benedict Jackson Fellowship Program has given me the opportunity to intern at the Children’s Museum of South Dakota. This high quality museum aims to, “promote learning for children of all ages and abilities through interactive, informal, hands-on exhibits and demonstrations.” As part of this internship, I enjoy interacting with the children and planning future demonstrations to guide additional learning. I also have the opportunity to learn about this new museum that has quickly become a staple of Brookings, SD. Scholarships and other gifts ensure that children of all families can learn from the museum’s resources. Once inside the museum, exhibits featuring foreign cultures and the local Native American community foster a greater awareness and acceptance of unfamiliar cultures by focusing on the universal need for a home. I am proud to be even a temporary participant in the museum’s inclusive efforts. In keeping with this theme, I am writing scripts for demonstrations between the Dakota tipi and a 1880s sod house that focus on the cultures’ similarities and shared values. I hope that the scripts may encourage children to approach cultural differences with respect, making the community itself a better place.
Of course, I have also benefited from this internship, both personally and professionally. As a college student studying secondary education, I have been able to observe educational successes. I have also grown to appreciate the unbelievable capacity of children to think critically, as when they use props from one exhibit to enhance their experience in another exhibit. This lesson will help me never to underestimate my students’ abilities. As an individual who may someday pursue graduate studies in museology, I have benefitted from learning more about the people and processes necessary to maintain a quality museum than I expected. Every experience when visiting a museum is a direct result of careful planning and acting by museum employees. I have not solidified a decision regarding this possible career goal, but I will be able to make said decision with a clear understanding of what a career in museums truly means. At the end of the ten-week fellowship, I will return to Minnesota with knowledge and experiences that will make me a better person in whatever I choose to do with my life.