If you had told me a year ago that I would be completing my internship at the Smithsonian, I wouldn’t have believed you. I might have laughed in your face. Nevertheless, I just spent the last ten weeks interning at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History (NMAH) in Washington, D.C (http://americanhistory.si.edu/).
What can I say about working at one of the most renowned museums in the country? It was both amazing and surreal. I walked across the Washington Mall every morning to get to work, with the Washington Monument on my left and the U.S. Capitol on my right. In NMAH’s Division of Medicine and Science, I worked with Curator Dr. Katherine Ott to research post-World War II government contracts regarding the adaptation of lightweight aircraft materials into prostheses. I even got to talk to one of the participants of the program who did not fight in WWII, but rather fell out of a cherry tree at the age of 12, ultimately leading to the amputation of both his arms.
Besides the incredible research opportunities, the Smithsonian offered a wide range of enrichment activities for its interns. I attended the Philadelphia Orchestra’s performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, met Rita Moreno (yes, that Rita Moreno), went to a naturalization ceremony featuring Hillary Clinton and Ralph Lauren, toured the Supreme Court, and volunteered at the 200th anniversary festivities of the original Star-Spangled Banner (on display at NMAH), not to mention many other events!
It was very difficult to leave my friends and family for ten weeks, but their support made it possible for me to have one of the most incredible experiences in my 30-something years. It is truly something I will never forget. (Special thanks to everyone in the history department and their ceaseless efforts to make sure my internship happened!)