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September 28, 2015

Interning at the Museum: Sarah Frost, Web

The blog series Interning at the Museum highlights the projects and accomplishments of the National Museum of the American Indian's interns. Each intern completes a 10-week internship in a department at one of the museum's three facilities—the museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.; Cultural Resources Center in Suitland, Maryland; or George Gustav Heye Center in New York City. The museum’s Internship Program offers sessions in the spring, summer, and fall. The next deadline for applications—for the spring 2016 session—is November 20, 2015. These interviews feature members of this year's recently completed summer session. —Sarah Frost 

Sarah Frost's experiences at the museum have included helping launch a major exhibition website, pulling together content for the museum's participation in the Google Cultural Institute, and interviewing her fellow interns (and herself) for the blog.

Tell us a little about yourself and your background. 

My name is Sarah Frost, I just received my BA in anthropology from Barnard College, and I’m from Irvine, California.

You're continuing your internship into the fall. What department are you interning in, and what projects are you working on?

I’m interning in the Web Office, and I’m currently working on several projects. I am helping to form a relationship between the Google Cultural Institute and NMAI, and working with curators to create digital exhibits. I'm helping to launch a social media expansion into Snapchat by designing Geofilters for the museum. I also helped proofread and test the website for The Great Inka Road this summer, which was a massive project and an incredible accomplishment for the web team.

Why did you decide to intern at NMAI?

I decided to intern at NMAI because I wanted to combine my background in anthropology with my interest in web development and social media. I was excited to learn about how a museum manages its web presence, and to work with curators, exhibit designers, and web developers. The museum is doing great work by drawing attention to Native voices and stories.

What is your favorite aspect of your internship at NMAI?

I have really enjoyed seeing all of the pieces that come together to make an exhibition. The Great Inka Road: Engineering an Empire opened in June, and it was exciting to be able to see the fruit of everyone’s hard work. The website is amazing and has won several awards, and the exhibit is awesome and informative. So many people were involved, and it was great to be a part of that! 

What have you learned, and what do you hope to achieve because of this internship?

I have learned how a museum’s web presence interacts with the brick and mortar institution, and how museum content is created or translated for the web. I think that NMAI impacts many people’s lives by having a strong web presence, and I hope to continue to be part of that in the future!

How has interning helped you understand your own cultural interests?

I’ve learned a lot about the issues facing Native people today. I’ve also learned a lot about cultural appropriation. It’s made me realize how often Native images and symbols are misunderstood and misused. It’s important to me that everyone appreciate and respect Native cultures, and I feel lucky to be a part of this work.

Do you have advice for aspiring interns?

If you want to work on a specific project, or sit in on a meeting, don’t be afraid to ask! Everyone at the museum is so supportive and will do their best to make sure you have a great experience. 


Photo courtesy of Sarah Frost; used with permission. 


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