On a Mission to Track Down Missing Maps
Old maps missing from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History archives were tracked down this summer by Emporia State University graduate student Brittany Collins.
Collins, from Denver, will graduate in January with a master’s degree in library and information science, archives studies.
She spent the summer in Washington, D.C., as an intern in the NMNH’s National Anthropological Archives, an opportunity she discovered earlier this year during a SLIM international education trip in London. She applied and received a response the following day.
In addition to her primary job duties — assisting students and other researchers in navigating various Smithsonian databases, teaching proper handling of materials and other tasks — Collins was assigned to two special projects for NAA’s Native American collections. She compiled information from extensive databases and wrote subject guides for Crow (Apsaalooké) Nation and the Menominee Nation and conducted an inventory of maps.
“There were a few missing maps from the collection, so I had to go through the entire collection of beautifully made maps dating as far back as the 1600s,” she said, explaining that she had to identify each map, then search for them. “I was able to find the missing maps, so the project was a success.”
Working with students, seeing them work through problems and helping them accomplish their goals corroborated her decision to make her career as an archivist on the academic level.
Internships are “powerful experiences that can set a life’s course.”
“The internship looks great on your resumé, but it is also one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences that you will always be glad you did,” she said.
“I feel like I have a better idea of what is expected of me when I do enter the work force. I’m excited about what the future holds.”