Reality check : my experiences at Sharlot Hall Museum.
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Reynolds, Rebecca, 1991-
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For ten weeks during the summer of 2014 I interned at Sharlot Hall Museum in Prescott, Arizona. Sharlot Hall Museum is a cultural center focused on the historical, social and natural aspects of Territorial Arizona. Opening in 1928, the museum is a mid-sized museum featuring seven historic buildings, an exhibit center, and a Library and Archive. Sharlot Hall’s mission is to foster community understanding and appreciation of Arizona’s territorial history and to promote involvement and support for research, collections, exhibits, and programming. The purpose of the internship was to gain exposure to many areas of the museum, with a focus in education. The primary tasks consisted of assisting with summer youth programs, working in the museum archives, being exposed to the Living History program and coordination, developing potential digital technology for the museum, and editing content for a new digital kiosk display. Additional experiences consisted of work with the volunteer program, including observations of docent tours, participation in docent training, and development of a docent guide. Finally, the internship included the attendance of several staff meetings. The results of the internship were a greater understanding of the challenges many history museums including Sharlot Hall faces. Located in a small town, retirement community, the museum has some obstacles to overcome in terms of funding and attendance. Additionally, educational programming is primarily directed towards an older demographic that can alienate younger generations.