Monday, February 6, 2012

Thank You, Austin ... and Farewell!

by Jeanne Pirtle, Education Director

Austin Kibler served as an intern here at Sotterley from June to December of 2011. A SMCM student majoring in political science and history, Austin was recommended by Professor Ken Cohen who also served as his faculty advisor. Our staff at Sotterley wears many hats and our resources are often stretched to the limit. We always welcome our college interns to do critical and much needed work in many areas of museum operation.

After the incorporation of the new house tour last May, “Discovering Sotterley,” that required a literal raid on available collections vital to the tour, it was a perfect time for an intern to work with reorganizing, re-cataloguing, and researching our collections pieces. Working with members of the collection committee and Education Director, Jeanne Pirtle, Austin helped to update the inventory and re-package pieces for better conservation. He also researched pieces that are displayed in the Plantation House tour. This research will help interpreters answer visitor questions and give their presentations more depth. Knowing more about when a piece came into the collection, how it was obtained, who obtained it, dating the piece and other such details not only adds interest, but it will help us when assessing and applying for any conservation grants and planning for the future. Going beyond what was required, Austin took ownership of his work. He also helped to select and display pieces for new exhibits in our visitor’s center.

Austin also learned the new tour and worked as an interpreter during the fall months. After his internship was officially over, Austin continued to work on a volunteer basis to help us get ready for the first 2nd Saturday Series, “Backstairs/Upstairs” in January. The program was a huge success, and Austin was a major contributor. Austin is an example for others for his work ethic. He worked and collaborated with many different people with ease, both staff and volunteers. Austin has learned a great deal and has found that he desires an education and career in the museum field. He will be an asset to any organization. It was a pleasure working with him.

Good luck in all of your future endeavors Austin!

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