Sally Goldman, Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site
I’ve learned a lot in my internship. Here are some random bits of things I’ve picked up on.
In no particular order:
- Little kids are smart. If they’re smart enough to ask the question, they’re smart enough to hear the answer. Do not lie to children. They may need things explained differently than adults, but they are not to be lied to.
- Parents don’t always agree with this.
- Surprisingly, the parents who are the most resistant to us acknowledging the existence of modern-day racism are the parents whose children will never experience it.
- The government is very slow.
- Justice is also very slow.
- The story of my site is very much alive today, in many senses of the word. The “characters” in the story aren’t characters, they’re real-live people who are much more than what happened to them in 1957-1958. They have gone on to do many other things, big and small. And still, although time has passed, what happened here was shocking and painful and traumatic. There are still a lot of open wounds in this city from what happened almost 60 years ago.
- In the same vein as above, today Little Rock exists in a state of rampant housing segregation, which affects school demographics and conditions, even though the school district completed its integration plan in 1972–sixteen years after the Brown decision.
- There is an art to telling people a very painful story and having them connect to it on an emotional level while at the same time not burdening them emotionally and spoiling their visit.
- No matter how many times you and your coworkers proofread something, there will always be a typo that makes its way into the final publication.
- Office politics exist no matter how hard you try to avoid them.
- I will always be the youngest person at meetings, conferences, etc. It’s better to use my age as an asset than to be self-conscious about it.
- In addition, most visitors think that I’m a sixteen-year-old. It makes their expectations of me much lower.
- People will underestimate you when they find out you’re a recent high school grad who isn’t even in college. Go out of your way to prove them wrong.
- Networking is actually kind of hard.
- Some partners are easier to work with than others. It’s all about what their expectation of the partnership should look like. If you know that from the beginning, it makes working with them much smoother.
- Sometimes being a workaholic is kind of fun.
- Sometimes being a workaholic isn’t fun, and you should learn how to take breaks.
- Creating an interpretive program takes a lot of work and a lot of time. It’s not something that anyone can just do.
- Director Jarvis is a cool guy to talk to. You just have to get over the initial shock of OH MY GOD AM I MEETING THE DIRECTOR OH MY GOD THAT’S HIM
- Asking for forgiveness > asking permission (sometimes)
- All the little things you worried about in high school mean nothing when it’s over.
- All of the big, existential dread-inducing things you worried about in high school don’t go away. It’s just easier to forget them. This sounds like it’s a negative thing, but it’s not.
- Your tour groups will always find ways to surprise you–don’t judge them before you start the program.
- People are fun to work with more than they are a nuisance to work with. The good outweighs the bad.
I don’t have a solid conclusion for this post/stream of consciousness but right now I’m really grateful for the experiences I’ve had so far, even though there have been some rough patches to my internship.