I am working full-time as an Archives Technician at the United States Capitol in continuation of my internship the past two summers with the Architect of the Capitol. While my main focus is processing, digitizing, and archiving historical documents and photographs, another facet of this position is conserving, preserving, and archiving extensive collections of 19th and 20th century diacetate negatives. Additionally, I am part of a team that sorts and mounts the nationwide congressional student art exhibits displayed each year.
One of the many rewarding aspects of this job is preserving American history for anyone to see. Because the diacetate negatives are very old and extremely fragile, they are in varying stages of decomposition. Once preserved, these photographs can be archived for the public to view for the first time, revealing moments of history previously unseen.
The Museum course was a great help in narrowing down which type of work I wanted to pursue. After taking that course, I completed a hands-on internship through the program that gave me real-world experience in the archival and preservation field. My MA from George Mason’s respected Art History program opened the door to the internship, which led me to my current position at the Capitol!
The best way to help yourself prepare for a job post-graduation is to take advantage of Mason’s faculty members in the program. I found them enthusiastic, willing to help, and generous with their time. Also, seek internships to gain experience. Those offered through the Art History program are varied in subject and location—there are plenty of options and opportunities! An internship coupled with in-class experience will set you apart in your job search.