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Aug. 2, 2013

Kate Rhodes: Interning at the Holocaust Museum

Aug. 2, 2013

Kate Rhodes, a senior in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities, landed a summer internship at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

This summer I am a Museum Services intern at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

U.S. Holocaust Museum

For those of you who have not visited the museum, it is an absolutely incredible place that is both a center for learning and education and a memorial for those who perished in the Holocaust.

I work alongside other interns, paid staff members and volunteers to be a source of information for the 7,000 to 8,000 visitors on average who come through the museum every day. I work at the information desk, pass out tickets, give group orientations, run films, work outside the two entrances to the museum, rove the exhibits and answer the question “where’s the restroom?" about 6,394 times a day.

Every day I have a new schedule, meet new people and get the opportunity to work in tons of different areas of the museum. It is a generally fast-paced environment focused on taking care of visitors and making sure their experience at the museum is meaningful and memorable.

Some of the greatest assets to the museum are the Holocaust survivors who volunteer their time and tell their stories. On any given day there will be survivors volunteering with museum services, sitting in the lobby to talk with any visitor interested in hearing their story, and participating in museum programs such as “First Person" that feature a survivor giving a detailed account of their experiences.

Inside the U.S. Holocaust MuseumI work alongside these survivors every day, chat with them at lunch and hear about their lives and the indescribable things they have overcome. It is amazing to hear firsthand their different experiences and to realize even more the breadth of the continuing impact of the Holocaust on so many lives.

Outside of work, the other interns and I spend a lot of time being tourists ourselves and eating out at D.C.’s millions of restaurants! While we certainly encounter some interesting characters in dealing with the masses that traipse through Washington, D.C. in the summertime, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum is filled with staff and volunteers who are dedicated, sincere and deeply appreciate the importance of their job and the history the museum preserves and presents to the public.

I am so lucky to be here for the summer.

Read about other RCAH student summer experiences and internships at the Summer of RCAH blog.