At the National Archives I worked in the reference department, meaning I was helping researchers. In particular, I was an intern for the Navy team, working primarily with Naval records. I helped researchers who came into the archives pull deck logs (day to day records logging the location of a ship) for different Navy vessels. I also answered letters from researchers who had inquired about the types of records held by the National Archives. These experiences showed me how history and records can help people because I was writing back to Vietnam veterans who needed information from deck logs to support different veterans’ benefits claims they were making. I never really thought of history as a field that was concerned with helping people, but it was truly a privilege to be a part of that.
I want to be an archivist so obviously this internship is extremely relevant to my future prospects and a way for me to “get my foot in the door” because my dream job is at the National Archives. Having the opportunity to see how an archive works is not only helpful to me in terms of future job prospects and gaining hands on experience, but also as a history major we tend to do a lot of research, and understanding the process of how those records are taken care of and made available to us is extremely valuable.