Adiós a las misiones

This summer was an amazing experience and I could not have asked for a better park! I learned so much as the Multimedia Outreach Intern at San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. The Missions was the perfect place for me to spend my summer and the projects challenged me professionally.

I enjoyed working at a park that has always been right in front of my face but I never truly looked at it. I walked away from this internship with a greater understanding of the National Park Service and the San Antonio Missions.

As a Tejana, I learned about the missions in grade school and their importance to Texas and its people. I was taught that Spaniards settled in Texas and “rescued” the native peoples of the land. However, as I grew older, I saw the missions as a reminder of an oppressive time in my state’s history. I was worried that the Missions were going to tell the same story that I grew up hearing and I didn’t know if I would fit in at my internship because my cynical view of them. Instead, I saw, and learned, how the park’s interpretive staff worked hard to tell a balanced story and make sure that all visitors, whether they were Texan or not, knew about the people who lived here 10,000 years ago, those who arrived 300 years ago, and those who still live around each mission site.

I was able to connect those histories with my projects. I used my skills and learned more by researching, filming, and editing recipe videos. This allowed me to connect to the history of the missions in a different way than ever before. In addition, curating the social media for the park alongside my supervisor, Justine, was a fun experience. Surprisingly, I was always nervous about what I was going to post, but in the end, I enjoyed showing the park off through various posts and pictures. Lastly, I am glad I got the opportunity to leave a sort of legacy behind at the park through the Junior Ranger Activity Booklet. The park rangers and my supervisor could not have been more supportive in my crazy initiative to completely redesign the booklet in two-weeks’ time.

In the end, I’m thankful for the connections I made through the park and LHIP. As a historian, I am often alone with my head in an archive, sifting through mounds of information. This internship allowed me to see an environment outside the academy, where I can thrive. I want to extend my gratitude to everyone at Hispanic Access Foundation and Latino Heritage Internship Program, as well as the interpretive staff at San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. Everyone from the other interns to the rangers to my supervisor made my summer so enjoyable and I can’t wait to see where my career takes me from here. I started the summer retracing my roots and ended it by planting more seeds in the National Park System.

The historical recipe videos I created can be found at:

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