One Person’s Item Can Be Another’s Treasure – Kristian Lloyd Enbysk

Hey y’all! I just completed my 6th week of my amazing internship at Homestead. The weather’s getting into those dog days of summer getting upwards in the mid to late 90 degrees Fahrenheit. These hot hours come to no avail to me, being a Texan, I’m used to it. But I will never get over these sunsets. As I said, 6 weeks have passed since I began my journey here, the time is certainly flying by! So far, it’s been nothing short than eye-opening to learn all these new skills to carry with me moving forward and meeting all the wonderful people on staff and in the community. Personally, I have been able to spend time with colleagues at cookouts and firework displays, plus spent my off time playing golf at the local course. It is definitely nice to get back into the swing of things (pun obviously intended).

As good as it is to spend my off time relaxing, I came here to learn and contribute! Recently I have been continuing to work on organizing the park’s oral history projects, the most recent one I completed was the Montana Homesteaders Project, conducted in 2004 and collaborated with the Montana Historical Society. Other than oral histories, I finally began to assist with museum collections! Here, I am cataloging and photographing some of the park’s backlog from previous donations. I have to say, I am amazed by the scope of this park’s collections. For being a somewhat small park, the collections are rich in history and numbers. There are currently over 9, 100 items cataloged, while with the archives included there are over 900,000 items in collections. Some objects include many books published in 19th century, farming/agricultural tools, clothes, and even indigenous artifacts like a bow and calumet! The process for carrying out the cataloging is interesting, I am learning how to observe and inspect an object for discrepancies or significant markings for descriptions. Now if you know me or get to in the future, you will learn that I tend to be a little cheesy, but I find this part of my job truly incredible. Here’s why– getting a first-hand look at these objects really helps to appreciate the preservation and history of them. Just think, every item has a story, from a simple jar to a highly valuable personal heirloom, and getting to hold them (with gloves on of course) is amazing. Coming into this internship, I had an interest in archives and collections, and this work is justifying that. The saying, “one man’s garbage can be another’s treasure,” is definitely true if you ask me. The work that goes behind preserving them is a testament of how important each item is to telling those stories of the past and even the future. Just thought I should share this perspective with y’all.

Besides collections, I have been continuing to improve my interpretation skills at the Freeman School and participated by photographing the park’s annual Homestead Days event. This is the park’s biggest event of the year with many performances for visitors. The park had performances from individuals and bands celebrating the different aspects of the Homestead era. One group was Mariachi Zapata, a mariachi band from Omaha, they graced us with traditional Mexican folk music and even a little Tejana music from the fabulous Selena Quintanilla. It was nice to hear familiar sounds and I really enjoyed it (I might have dance a tad). Many homesteaders were Latina/o and I appreciate the focus on including the culture behind some of the courageous Latina/o people who ventured out to create something for themselves. Speaking of La Raza (the Latina/o community), the National Park Service’s Latino Conservation Week is coming up soon and I look forward to contributing what I can to that as well, stay tuned. As always thanks for reading–until next time, Kristian signing off!

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