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Internship profile: National Hellenic Museum

January  31, 2014

Chelsea Bankes found a big city museum experience without being lost in a crowd of interns.

(Augustana Photo Bureau/Emma Stough)

Bankes, a senior majoring in history and anthropology from Galesburg, Ill., was a collections management intern at Chicago's National Hellenic Museum.

That means unpacking artifacts found in unlabeled, non-preservation boxes and assessing their condition, researching their use, purpose, and history, and placing them in temperature and humidity controlled storage in the museum's collections archives.

"My courses in history trained me to be a thorough researcher and to pay attention to detail while thinking of the artifact's historical purpose," Bankes said.

She said the internship opens students up to a bigger city and the museum/non-profit life, while still having a smaller museum and staff, "so you will not be lost in a crowd of interns."

She also traveled to other museums in Chicago, such as the Hull House and the Chicago History Museum, with the objective of exploring the museum profession.

"This was put together by the staff of the National Hellenic Museum to educate their interns on the profession," she said. "Also, the staff that I worked with was a highlight because they were open to teaching me as a learning intern and they provided me with a lot of knowledge about this field of work."

Bankes said the internship helped her find professionals to share her enthusiasm about history and museums. "I was very excited to be around those who shared my interests in a serious manner."