When the staff of the Mahaffie Stagecoach and Farmstead and I sat down during our initial meeting I was really unsure what I was preparing myself for. However, I just knew I was seeking that opportunity to branch outside the classroom as I’ve stated before in my previous postings. When the ranking staff members and I discussed what could be accomplished with my internship and could it provide the necessary ‘give and take’ relationship.
I was certainly blown away by their efforts to supply an adequate support network to provide an rotation of educational formats. I was completely caught off guard and utterly surprised when they offered me to work in their collections department on Saturdays doing research data. I have to say, this opportunity given to me(as undergraduate student) provides the motivation to seek to follow through my History Program to the end. Each time I walk down the basement steps /or call the elevator to take me to the collections room-I just explode inside with excitement. This is the place I fit well-like an old shoe. Feels like home. After entering this remarkable room(to me anyways) I nearly don’t want to leave the place and this past Saturday, Katie even mentioned that I needed to get out and take a break! Okay, Okay-so I did.
For my first project, I have been handed the job of cleaning / cataloging / and store a bundle of artifact findings that have been collected from around the site. I have been working on this project over 2 weeks and we just finished it this week. I will post a followup posting on the ins and outs. stay tuned…
Picture below of sorting and washing artifacts
From my previous introduction posting I would like to expand on why I chose to intern at the Mahaffie Stagecoach, explain the organization’s mission/history for those who are not familiar with it and let my journey expand from there.
As an undergraduate, I quickly decided I needed to have an opportunity to apply the hard earned skills and knowledge outside the classroom. I am a non-traditional student who has attended part-time for nearly five years straight, so I felt it necessary to test my knowledge near to graduation and the HistoryMakers Summer Internship Program fit into my schedule perfectly. Without hesitation, the staff at the Mahaffie Stagecoach and Farmstead were gracious enough to take on me as their intern for the summer. I found them through the UMKC HistoryMaker Program Site. I wanted to do something totally out of my element and area of knowledge. I have picked the perfect place to intern then. I have slowly found my way though.
A little historical background and organization information
James and Lucinda Mahaffie built the original farmstead in 1858, ran their farm until 1870, then remained on the grounds until 1886. Today, the Mahaffie StageCoach and Farmstead stands as one of the few Santa Fe Trail stagecoach stops remaining. It is the only stagecoach stop which is preserved as a public historic site. The staff of the Mahaffie StageCoach and Farmstead offer their guests a ‘hands on-history’ learning experience. The site focuses on the 1860s farming, frontier life, and stagecoach living while preserving the significance of the owners.
My first day
My very first day was full of a meet and greet of the Mahaffie staff, absorbing the grounds, and my very first task- helping with ‘Fabric Day’ which consisted of shearing a sheep. I had no experience or knowledge but I offered my extended hand-and that went a long way! Here is photo of the end result of shearing the sheep and trying to clean it-taking us more than 4 hrs or so with hot water soak and draining, attempting to dry..progress was very slow but obtained heaps of info
By Kathrine Miller
I have been interning with the historic Mahaffie Farm and StageCoach for a month now and have there have been many brand new experiences for me that I needed so badly that one can not seek through a book. All of the Mahaffie Staff and their regular volunteers are very knowledegable and have guided me towards fitting right into their program. So far, Katie, my immediate supervisor has blown me away with with providing me with tasks and projects that I probably will not be able to seek until later on in my career-but I am so thankful for this LIMITED opportunity that their staff has supplied me! Katie, Tim, Aleixis and of course Dr. Cantwell will be thanked properly later but now here comes the FUN stuff!! My very first day, I helped shear this guy!
The retelling of my journey with the Mahaffie folks starts now!! I will supply photos(when I can, gets a little dirty around there for chores and such), weekly links to what they’ve done or what could be doing (FYI Check this out #freefamilyfunnight on Thursday nights or for more info see www.mahaffie.org )
Textile Research and Construction Internship
Position Summary: The intern will gain experience researching, designing and constructing 19th textiles including household furnishings and clothing. Additionally, the intern may dress in period clothing and demonstrate the use of an 1860s treadle sewing machine, spinning wheel and/or floor loom.
Principal Duties and Responsibilities:
- Research 19th century textiles including but not limited to furniture slip covers, bed sheets, dresses and bonnets. The intern will have access to two collections of period textile objects, online resources and a library.
- Create reproduction items for use in the historic home.
- Interpret textile related activities to the public while dressed in period clothing.
- Assist in the maintenance and inventory of reproduction period clothing and 19th century textiles.
Skills, Knowledge and Abilities:
Education: Intern must possess a high school diploma or GED. Qualified applicants will know how to sew by hand and use a modern sewing machine. Pattern drafting experience helpful but not mandatory. Previous museum or historical research experience a plus.
Individual must possess the ability to work in a team atmosphere, have strong written and verbal communication skills.
Working Conditions: Intern will be provided with a textile construction workspace and access to the collections, library and a computer.
- Ability to read, comprehend and write clearly.
- Ability to represent the organization in a professional and positive manner.
- Ability to work at least 16 hours per week for at least 8 weeks.
To Apply: Send a letter of interest and resume to Katie Lange at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Mahaffie Farmstead seeks to hire historic site guides for the fall season. The guidewill engage general visitors and organized tour groups in hands-on, living history activities at the Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm Historic Site for daily programming and special events. They will also assist with preparation, planning, set-up, and take-down, of program materials for daily activities and special events and handle admissions/reception and gift shop duties. May assist in feeding and maintaining livestock.
Hours and schedule will vary. For more information and to apply, see the full job posting at the City of Olathe’s website.
Students are welcome to apply to this job for employment, or also take it as an internship while working.