Reflection Paper

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When I was growing up, my father tried his best to teach me the story of my people and our struggle. As a child, I did not believe that things were as bad as he said they were. I felt that the stories he told me were just that, stories of a bygone era. After all, I had plenty of friends of many different races, and never felt the sting of prejudice. As I have grown, I have learned that the stories that he told me were indeed true, and have shaped me into the person I am today. During the summer of 2016, I was blessed to serve as a Conservation Intern at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. It was there that I found a connection to myself that I had ignored for years. As I wandered through the exhibits, I realized that my history, African American history, along with countless others, was absent from many of the stories being presented. I spoke with my mentor about this issue. As we spoke, he told me about the shortage of African American males in the museum field, and how hard it was to find people like myself. At that moment, I knew that museums were where I felt I could implement the most change. The Smithsonian also gave me hands-on experience in the field of conservation. As an intern, I conducted research to determine information about a variety of pieces, ranging from a ceramic figurine to a framed collection of presidential hair. I utilized common conservation techniques such as color matching and object analysis, and used an X-Ray Florescence

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