The American Truck Historical Society is seeking qualified interns for openings in the summer of 2015. The archival repository for the nation’s freighting industry, the ATHS is seeking applications for:
- Collections and Archives
- Journalism and Social Media
- Information Technology
Complete information, including application instructions, can be found on the ATHS’s career’s page. Students wishing to take these internships for college credit should follow the instructions on the How to Apply page.
By Caitlin Eckard
Some issues I have been struggling with lately. First of all, handwriting. I know we think in today’s computer age, that handwriting is not as important as it once was. This is not the case with the collection I have been working with. Each photo or folder has a number written on it that a previous director assigned to the item. I am trying to go through and match up these numbers with what has been already cataloged on the PastPerfect software. Well I can barely read most of this person’s handwriting. I need to ask people if they think something is a 6 or an 8. This is becoming time consuming. I shouldn’t need a paleography course in order to read somebody’s handwriting from 70 years ago.
Also, consistency has become a large issue with this photograph collection. Most photos or negatives has multiple numbers written on them, so it is my job to figure out which one is the right one to use. No pressure or anything! This week I have been scanning loose photographs without folders attached to them. I have been getting more and more annoyed at this project, because many of the loose photos are prints I have already scanned, but they were not in their proper place. I am making progress here. There have been over 10000 photos/ negatives scanned to do. Only around 40000 to go!
By Caitlin Eckard
Well I just learned today that my internship will continue through the end of December. Exciting news for me! Hopefully, there will be a full time job for me in January if the funding is there. I have begun my final paper, which is a proposal on how to store the photo collection I am scanning. This project has a lot of interesting issues I must think about before my final paper. The photos are in stage one degradation, as I have mentioned before, so the most important issue is to keep these photos and negatives in their current state, so there is not more damage to the collection. I haven’t had much experience with these types of artifacts, so I have been trying to study up on the best practices for photo storage. I am struggling with how to store everything, because I know some archives/ museums store prints and negatives separately. I don’t think that will work here, simply because of the space available to ATHS. I know temperature control will be the most important aspect of the photo collection after it has been properly stored. I believe that if I do a great job on this proposal, it will be put to use at ATHS, which is some experience I think will benefit me greatly in my career.
This fall, the American Truck Historical Society is looking for two interns to assist in the digitization and cataloging of the White Motor Photo Collection. As necessary, the Collections Intern will support ATHS with other collection management projects.
- Enter accession and donor information for objects in the collection not already entered into the museum’s collections management software PastPerfect;
- Update old records already in PastPerfect;
- Correlate all items with correct paper and database files. If these files do not already exist, create said file;
- Ensure all objects are properly marked with old and new accession numbers;
- Digitally photograph or scan each object and add images to PastPerfect
Start Date: Flexible
Intended graduation with a focus in Museum Studies, History, or related field; strong attention to detail; excellent written and oral communication skills; and ability to work well alone and in a group.
Interested students should reach out to Courtney Dery (firstname.lastname@example.org), ATHS Library Director, for more information. Graduate students are preferred, but qualified undergraduates will be considered. Students interested in applying should follow the guidelines on the How to Apply page.
By Caitlin Eckard
So I have learned how to work with a new type of technology for this project as well. Yay for more things to put on my resume! The collection has several negatives, but no prints to go with them. I have been photographing the negatives using a backlight mount with a camera mounted above to capture the negative’s image. Obviously, these will have to go back and be edited some, but I think this is a great way to save the image. Eventually, ATHS will be able to make prints from the negatives, but right now we are just trying to digitize everything.
The only problem with the backlight is the temperature. It can get pretty hot, and usually it is only good for about a couple hours use. However, photographing these negatives goes really quickly. We also came across some glass negatives this week! I was excited, because I have never seen them up close. I feel a lot of progress has been made on this collection since I began the project. It is nice to see empty file cabinets, and the photos correctly sorted. I am scanning/ photographing about 1200 photos/ negatives every three days. After the photos are taken care of, it will be on to some of the films in the collection, which I would like to work with since I have no previous experience doing so.
By Caitlin Eckard
Even though I am working on the same project, there are so many issues at play here. The most recent and annoying issue has been the numbers assigned to the photos I have been scanning. There really is no organization between years, truck models or makes, or subject matter. They are all heaped together with no rhyme or reason. Hopefully, once this giant project is finished we can organize photos based on certain criteria, which would make them easier to find for reference questions. Also, I know I have mentioned this in previous posts, storage is really an issue here. More specifically storage and care of the photos/ negatives needs to be better. A lot of these items are bent, folded, or wrinkled simply because they have not been stored properly for many years. However, that is a project that other interns have been working on.
This week I have been more focused on photographing the negatives with no prints so that they may be added to the archive software. However, many of the negatives are loose, with no number or anything written on them. in the lucky moments when there is a reference number written, it takes a magnifying glass to find the number. This brings up the question of collections management. I cannot stress enough how important it is to organize collections in such a way that multiple people can access them. I have experienced this problem in many archive situations, where only one person has the knowledge to find items. This makes things very difficult when there is a high turnover rate for these employees. Every time a new library director comes in, they basically have to start from scratch to figure out how their predecessor organized collections. However, I am extremely happy to be part of the team that is making this library a better working institution.
By Caitlin Eckard
ATHS’s annual Convention and Antique Truck Show was the last week of May in Springfield, MO. I went as a volunteer, and actually learned a lot about the internal workings of the historical society. I was also privileged to meet the majority of the executive board, who all thanked me endlessly for the work I had already completed this Spring. That was nice to hear.
I worked at the merchandise table and answered general questions about the show. All in all there were 711 trucks registered and around 4500 visitors. They also already have the profits made from this years convention, which I thought was an impressive number. The interesting this is that the profits they make from the conventions are not added into their budget. Apparently, only in previous years have they made a decent profit. Hopefully, this can maybe go towards another employee…. One can wish!
I think the convention was run very well, and it was a fun event, I did learn a lot more about trucks. I prefer the brass era trucks because they are the oldest and most interesting in my opinion. They already have the next four years conventions booked too! Hopefully, they continue to do well with this fundraiser of sorts, because it really is a good event, and worthwhile to the company.
1914 MW. Oldest truck at convention.
By Caitlin Eckard
The past couple weeks at ATHS have been centered around their convention at the end of May. Every year this is their annual event, where people can hear about new events happening at ATHS, and it helps attract new members. I am learning a lot about the many tasks that need to be done in order for things to run smoothly. Meaning- everybody wears many different hats at ATHS. This is a phrase that I have heard repeatedly working there, and at other institutions. I have really come to understand it at ATHS, because everybody pitches in and does whatever work needs to be done. This has been especially true the past month.
I will also be helping out at the convention, luckily it’s in Springfield this year, so it’s relatively close by. I hope to learn more about the organization there, and hopefully meet some of the members, and ask them where they would like to see ATHS go in the future. Fundraising is such an important aspect of working in a museum or an historical society, (unless of course it’s the Smithsonian) so I plan on learning what works, what doesn’t, and possibly new things to try. I am taking a fundraising class next year, so hopefully this will give me a good background to start from.
By Whitney Knowles
So I know that its been awhile since I last blogged but the Truck Show is coming up at the end of the month!! Things have been really busy getting shirts in, the WIFI up and running and getting members signed up to show off their babies (trucks I mean). The American Truck Historical society has had me counting truck bumper plack. They are really nice metal ones with a lovely blue truck on it. I would slap one on my car if I could. I guess they give them to all the visitors that come display their trucks. Also we are moving around the back area for the visitors that are coming early for the show.
Also I have been writing down the truck logs for future use. We are not sure now we are going to enter the information that I gathered into pass-perfect. I am going to finish writing down the logs when I come back. The logs are purchases and parts from different companies. They still have the information since the most asked questions are about restoring a truck or maintaining one. The logs help keep us informed on trucks that are rare and hard to find.
By Whitney Knowles
The tasks of being an intern at The American Truck Historical Society has been filled with logging files into the computer and working on the pile of magazines that I have been working on. The logging into the system seems to be going pretty smoothly. I am putting the information from the folders of articles and photos that are located in their reference section. They are wanting to have an easier and quicker way to gather information from their collection and maybe, one day, to be online for their members to look up themselves. It makes sense since someone who is writing the information for me to input into the system is doing the same work I am doing with the magazines.
The magazines are still taking up most of my time right now. So far I have filled 12 filing cabinets of magazines. Looking through them, I start to see patterns that the trucking world faced over the years. An example is that all the different brands of magazines change art work with the decades from old fashion 60’s to the land of tie dye and mom jeans of the 70’s. I enjoy the big hair and trucker hats of the 80’s the most. Another example is how to help truckers deal with the increase of technology. What we think is old new an out of date, is showcased in the pages as brand new and hard to understand. Crazy to think what future generations will think about our technology and clothing fads.