Thursday, May 5, 2011

Writing Capstone Paper while interning at the AAMHM

These past two weeks I have really had my hands full with completing my capstone paper for graduation. The task has been challenging with trying to work, complete other schoolwork, as well as finish up my internship hours at the African American Military History Museum. I officially have completed my paper to my advisor Dr. Teresa Welch at the University of Southern Mississippi. In my paper I discussed the development of the AAMHM as well as its past appearance as the Historic 6th Street USO Club. I also discussed the organizational structure of the museum and the commission in which the museum is associated with. The Hattiesburg Convention Commission funds the AAMHM as well as other tourist locations around Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Mrs. Cruthirds, museum curator as well as Ms. Latoya Norman, museum public relation associate along with Heather Sanchez, Divah Griffin, and Eddie work along with me at the museum . We all work closely together to keep the museum functioning properly and to guide tourist around the museum. The most exciting information I conducted while doing my paper was discussing the museum exhibits. I discussed the 11 different war exhibits within my paper from the Revolutionary War to the Global War on Terrorism today. The museum and I focused on the brave unnoticed figures of each war that American has played a role in from Buffalo Soldier's Cathy Williams to Ruth Bailey Earl to Ensign Jesse L. Brown to Private Milton Olive III along with many other military servicemen and women.
This paper I has shown me that it is so much history out in the world and I am just scratching the surface. Three specific individuals I noted above were some of the people in my own state of Mississippi I did not even know about that fought and gave their life to the war cause. Many of their service and sacrifice has gone unnoticed to the United States as well as the world, but the AAMHM has brought their untold stories to the light. This museum is such a inspiration to the life of the African American experience towards the Armed Forces. Many wars has taken place all over the world and I did not think it would or would not have been successful if it was not for the African American. One of my favorite quotes from the AAMHM I will share below is a true one.
"There has been no war fought by or within the United States in which African Americans did not participate."

Friday, April 15, 2011

New Harmonies Exhibit, Cataloging Book, & Visitor Stats

The AAMHM has been very busy this month with many projects and events. This month the museum as been working with other associates to unveil an exhibit that highlights the music experience in Hattiesburg. Mrs. Cruthirds the museum curator as well as Heather one of the research specialist at the museum have been over at the Train Depot for weeks now constructing the exhibit. Tomorrow is the unveiling of the museum and I will surely be there to see the finishing product.

One tough task I have been managing to complete is the cataloging of books in the museum's library. The books are so delicate and fragile that I barely want to touch them to do my cataloging. Many of them are well preserved and in mint condition dating back to the late 1800s. I am trying to establish a system so the museum can know what materials and books they have in the library for future reference. Some of those books might be of historic value to the museum and they have yet to know. Plus the museum's library is off limits to the public; I thought this was something that they museum needs by it just getting established itself.

I have been quite busy continuing to work on establishing a visitor statistic log for the museum. I have used Microsoft Excel to give me a detail account of how many visitors have came into the museum since it's opening in May 2009. This week I have completed this long task of visitor numbers by looking through months of visitor log-ins and calendar appointments. Since May 2009 to April 2011 the African American Military History Museum has seen over 11,000 visitors in city and beyond. I feel that is quite good for a museum that is coming upon its 2nd anniversary in May. I have update the Excel spreadsheet for the next two years with formulas to calculate monthly and yearly visitor numbers for the museum records.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Cataloging Small Collections within the Museum

This week I have started to cataloge a formatted list of small collections for the African American Military History Museum closed library. First the library was a small writing room for soldiers visiting the USO when they were off duty or in town. Later the small library was made formal to the public in the 1950s. This library came into existence because the Forrest County Public Library was segregated and did not allow African Americans to check out books, so a small library was started within the USO.
The small library has a very knowledgeable collections that it offered to the African American public who were interested in reading and research. Going through the collection I have found a variety of novels, cookbooks, academic literature, atlases, dictionaries, encyclopedias, magazines, poetry books, newspapers, and bibles. Majority of these books dated back to the late 1890s to the late 1950s, and some of them are in very good condition. Some of these items were donated to the library from the public and several were second hand books thrown out from the public library. Yet the USO made use of all these books and items in the 1950s and they still remain in the library to this day. Even though the library has not been in public use for awhile, the story of its existence and legacy remains in the USO.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Processing Historical Documents/Spring Break Volunteering

This week has been a highlight for me because I learned how to process pictures, documents, and other historical data. I have been learning that as well as giving to the community of Hattiesburg. I am interning at the African American Military History Museum where they are covered by the Hattiesburg Convention Commission. I volunteered my time to help the Hattiesburg Convention Commission with their latest project the Hattiesburg Zoo. The convention commission as well as myself all help in the reconstruction of specific things in the zoo.
This was Spring Break for me and I am dedicating my time to the museum because this month is National Women's History Month. Mrs. Cruthirds along with the help of Heather, and I organized several top military officials that were women. Notable Hattiesburg natives are among the open collection display which includes Col. Shelia Varnado, Major Raylawni Branch, Ruth Bailey Earl, Valerie Easterling, Felicia Young, Ila Williams, and Nakita Adams. I respectfully acknowledge all these women for there bravery and courage in the U.S. Army.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Celebrating BLACKS in AVIATION

Today the African American Military History Museum is hosting a tribute to African American aviators. Also honoring the late Ensign Jesse Leroy Brown from Hattiesburg, MS and Mycel Scott from Clarksville ,Tennessee. Mr. Scott is a Navy aviator like Ensign Brown who admired the love for future flying and new one day that he would become an aviator pilot.

This week for me has been a great archival experience dealing with preservation and uploading historical pics. Last Wednesday, Mrs. Cruthirds, Heather, and I travel down to the Eureka School to gather pictures and different memorabilia. We found plenty of material not only from Eureka School but the other Black schools around Hattiesburg including: Rowan High School, Royal Street High School, and N.R. Burger Middle School. Gathering these materials we found plenty of graduation class portraits, prom pictures, and programs from about 70 years ago.

Yesterday I had the great chance to meet to Hattiesburg's own aviator Jesse L. Brown's brother who came to view the updates at the AAMHM. We got a chance to talk about his views on seeing and honoring his brother at today's event.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The best of archiving information

The best of the whole week was when I got to search for information to be archived for the new museum exhibit. Yesterday I helped the curator Mrs. Cruthirds search and gather information on the African American Military museum. A Forrest County native brought in a box of old interesting newspapers and books from the 1970s and 80s. We scattered the newspapers into a time and searched careful for African American military information. Yet we worked half of the day looking for information and we found nothing. I volunteer today and I will continue to look for information to archive.
Yesterday we also had a meeting about gathering, researching, and archiving information for th new Civil Rights Museum in Hattiesburg. The old Eureka School downtown near Mobile Street will be transformed into a Civil Rights museum. It will be one of the two museum is in the state of Mississippi dedicated to civil rights. I do not know the perspective date of the museum but Mrs. Cruthirds except it to be open at the end of 2012. It will be a total honor to help find information resulting to the cause of civil rights towards Hattiesburg. I hope to actually help set up museum displays for the future Civil Rights Museum at the Eureka School before I am finished with my practicum.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Kicking off Black History Month

Yesterday, the African American Military Museum kicked off Black History Month by honoring the African American Korean War Veterans. Each year the museum honors a group of military war era veterans to commentrate what a superb job these service men and women have done. Nearly thirty awards were passed out to veterans serving not only in the Korean War but other war stations areas around the world. All veterans that were honored yesterday are from the city of Hattiesburg and surrounding areas. Notable figures from our own Hattiesburg were honored or in attendance for the ceremony including Jesse L. Brown, Vernon Dahmer, George Williams, Frederick & Shelia Varnado, Mayor Johnny Dupree Ph.D, Hattiesburg Convention Committee, Brooke Cruthirds, curator, and many others.

The ceremony was great and wonderful to see some many elderly men and women still active sharing in the dream of the military. Many shared the shared their experience and gave thanks to the AAMM for honoring them so many years later. After the ceremony was over many toured the museum to see the newly features that were installed while others chatted amongs their family and friends. We celebrate the event with lemon cider, shirley temples, and finger size sweets that all the people enjoyed. I really enjoyed myself and the experience I am having at the African American Military Museum the ceremony brung tears to my eyes because it remind me of my grandfather. My grandfather was not in the military but the cheerfulness and mindset of these elderly men and women brung joy and a smile to my face.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Starting my Senior Practicum

Almost a year ago, I wrote a blog on the African American Military Museum in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Now I am currently working on my senior capstone at the same exact museum. Today is my second day at the AAMM and I am learning so much. Yesterday I learned the evenings procedures of how the museum operations and functions. I also tried to inform myself of the museum's history and notable servicemen and women I did not currently know.

Visitors came much throughout my time in the museum here and I got to meet the previous museum director Mrs. Iola Williams. Mrs. Iola is the wife of a former military serviceman that serves on the Hattiesburg Convention Commission. The HCC heads the museum and other current projects around Hattiesburg's pine belt. She also has the museum's theater named in her honor.

As I am starting my practicum at the museum I feel I will love volunteering my time to share in the great history of military service people. I am so excited about Black History Month approaching because I know the museum will have a variety of nationalities coming in to see and appreciate the bravery of African American soldiers.