Career Connections

Taylor Barnard

Major: Event Management

Minor/option/emphasis: Hospitality Management

Company/Organization: McLean County Museum of History
Company/Organization website:
Destination: Bloomington, IL
Timeframe: Summer

Advisor/Coordinator Email:

I was responsible for...
Throughout my internship I have been working with the Education department within the museum to plan and implement programs and activities that educate the public on what the museum has to offer. Programs and activities that I have worked one include the yearly Futures in History Camp that shows area middle schoolers how they can align their passions for history with a profession, private group tours of the museum and the exhibits, pop-up farmer's market events sharing the knowledge the museum has to offer, and the third annual steam-punk festival. While working on these programs and activities, I have been able to use the skills I've learned in the classroom as well as learning from my internship directors. I always feel encouraged to ask questions, use the programs as a way to try new ideas, and using my experiences as opportunities to learn more about the event management industry and non-profits.

I accomplished...
The greatest accomplishment of my experience was being able to provide the children of my community a program that changed their outlook on history. During the first session of the Futures in History Camp, one student said he was being forced to go even though he didn't like history. While at camp though, he found an interest in on of our topics; architecture. Seeing his face brighten as we explained the key pieces of architecture, the different styles apparent in our own city, and how he transformed a cardboard box into a bank was one of the most rewarding moments of my internship.

I learned...
One of the greatest lessons I've learned is that the audience is key in how you relay information. During my internship, I worked with people of all ages, backgrounds, and intellectual levels. Being that I had t be so diverse in the way I explained information, I learned quickly the importance of fitting the information to the audience. As an example, I could not explain to a group of pre-school students the importance of marble walls the same way I would to a group of patients from a local live in facility.

Advice for others...
Some advice that I have for future students is first and foremost, an unpaid internship is worth it. Each day that I enter the museum, I learn about my directors, my community, and myself. Along with that, ask questions of everyone around you, including any volunteers. The people that are near your internship have an invested interest in the success and will share all the tips and knowledge they can to help you accomplish the same goal. One additional piece of advise, do as much as you can while in your internship. Work the extra program, stay later than normal, come in on your day of, and then you'll be able to truly understand the establishment you're helping succeed.

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