The Final Week (Week 15)

My last week of being an undergrad!

This week was essentially spent finishing the last few things up, mostly with the Arbogast collection, so there isn’t really a whole lot of exciting things going on.

Thursday was spent mostly finishing the organization for the Arbogast collection into series and subseries and then proceeding with the organization within each subseries and the beginning of labelling the files. I have no idea who was there, but someone was looking through some boxes in the reception area, so I cleared off half of the table so they could do their stuff too. It was actually funny because I am so used to normally being alone in there, or people just walking past me, that my groove was thrown off since I was not listening to my normal killer-themed podcast to cut the silence.

Things returned to normal on Friday, however, when I had the entire half of the floor to myself. I finished the labelling for the files first, then worked on organization of the subseries as I tidied up the container list. I finally snagged the Arbogast I.D.’s from the Sheehan collection since Commissioner Sheehan said she thought it was a mix-up anyways, and added that to the Arbogast collection. The rest of my Friday was essentially spent working on the finding aid for his collection and wondering if I want pizza or Chinese food for dinner tonight.

I was worried about not getting the chance to finish the collections I’ve been working on by the time my internship ended. Unfortunately, most of the supplies did not make it to the GLBT museum in time for me to finish transferring everything into their proper homes, but I did get to finish up everything else. I wish I had a bit more time to do edits on the Arbogast collection’s finding aid, though, and I hope I can still get to see the oral history I did with Commissioner Sheehan!

Overall, I think this has been an amazing experience for me. I’ve gotten the chance to connect with so many people and to learn about a career field I knew absolutely nothing about until January. I definitely had to go beyond my comfort zone in communicating and leading specific projects, but I feel like they made me grow the most and I can be more comfortable with outreaching under professional and personal settings. Where I probably grew the most is in my confidence that I know I am doing my best job. A lot of archiving has to deal with self trust that you are organizing things in the most beneficial and logical way for a future researcher, and self-doubt will get you stuck on the same items for too long.

Although this is my last blog post for this internship, I’m actually attending my last board meeting this Sunday since the Easter holiday pushed back last week’s meeting. I’m excited to tell everyone about how far I’ve come in the collection processing and I’ll get to say goodbye!

Skipping Classes for the Greater Good (Week 14)

Another week without pictures! Geoffrey Cravero and I kinda felt like it would be unprofessional for us to ask to take a picture with Commissioner Patty Sheehan.



Speaking of Commissioner Patty Sheehan, Tuesday I got to skip class and conduct an oral history with her! I was so nervous and I tried to get there 30 minutes early, but I got completely lost in Orlando. I’m not used to driving around there other than to the board meetings and to eat amazing Korean food, so my familiarity with streets is none. I did still manage to get there 15 minutes early, though, and successfully found parking and my way through the not well mapped out City Hall.



Meeting Commissioner Sheehan was very scary, and I was nervous to start the interview. Fortunately for me, she interviews extremely well and was kind and gave us all sorts of amazing biographical information, both personal and about her career. After the interview, she gave each of us a handful of Orlando United pins!



One thing Commissioner Sheehan did say in her oral history was that she believes that she can sympathize with other minority groups more easily than white, Christian, heterosexual, cis men because of her experience with discrimination and invisibility with being in the LGBTQ community. I wholeheartedly agree with her statement because I feel like I have the same ability from being biracial despite also being white-passing. I think that is actually what has allowed me to connect so well with the people my processed collections are about.



Thursday was spent going over my final evaluation with Dr. Beiler. Unfortunately, she will not be there my last week of interning, so we did it early. Dr. Beiler was super sweet in her evaluation of me (of course) and even offered to be a reference for me if I apply for any archival jobs! I definitely feel like this is a field I would like to go into. I like the idea of helping researchers find and collect information and preserving valuable documents over being the researcher myself.




My last day for this week was spent organizing the file folders for the Arbogast Collection and to start labeling. I am pretty confident in my ability to create series and subseries within a collection now, but there are still specific file folders that take me a little while to find the best placement for them. Because all of his documents generally take place during the same four years, I decided organizing everything alphabetically would be the next most logical order system. I have this almost finished, but next week I will have to finish those up and work on the final finding aid!




See you later, space cowboy!

The Frightening Week 13

This week was finishing doing the basic inventory for the Brian Arbogast Collection. I finally got a new box of folders (yay!), but ran through them like they were nothing. The Arbogast Collection is nothing but document files, so LOTS of folders have been dedicated to it even before it reached me. I did manage to cut the collection down from 5 boxes into 3! This was mostly due to one box being mostly empty and getting rid of the giant binders after I transferred everything into the archival manila folders.

One nice thing is that Arbogast was already an organized person, so sorting through the file folders and understanding the relationship between each folder and its contents to other folders is easy. I’ve started re-organizing the container list, but I still have a lot in the way of organizing. I am still not entirely sure how I am organizing the series and possible sub-series for his collection because almost all of the file folders are dedicated to his work in GLAAD and there is a tough distinction between trying to determine if a specific file folder belongs in one sub-series over another. I think I will be able to finish this collection before my internship is over. Or I hope so at least.

Organizing the Commissioner Patty Sheehan oral history has been very scary. Simply over trying to coordinate everyone’s schedules together and finally figuring out a game plan all for it to go haywire over another scheduling conflict! Hopefully I can sort it all out by Monday at the latest (I’d prefer Friday, though). I went over my questions for the interview with Dr. Beiler and I sent them to Mr. Cravero who is helping me with it. I formulated quite a few questions, but I did that just in case if Commissioner Sheehan does not provide quite all of the information I need to flesh out her biography.

This week was especially entertaining because no one was walking through the office at any time, so I listened to a podcast about Lizzie Borden while finishing my file transfers between his old folders to the archival folders. Listening to possible murder motivations freaked me out when the occasional person would walk past the office or grab the door handle! At least it wasn’t the Jon Benet one.


Until next time!

Wonky Week (Week 12)

Dr. Beiler has been the kindest supervisor during my internship. This week’s interning times were wonky for the both of us due to another close, familial death of mine. The viewing and funeral were both scheduled during my normal interning times, so Dr. Beiler allowed me to go in Tuesday and Wednesday as opposed to Thursday and Friday.



Tuesday was spent introducing myself to the physical collection for Brian Arbogast (and also learning how to correctly spell his last name). The coffee-colored boxes definitely did not seem to be archival quality, but they are a gracious step up from giant plastic bins. The only downside to this collection is the amount of dirt stuck between pages. It is also amusing that this collection is entirely paper because my previous three collections contained a nice stack of artifacts. The best part about this collection is the basic file labels he put on everything, making it MUCH easier to determine what everything is and its significance to his collection.



I talked to Mr. David Benjamin from UCF’s Special Collections and he ordered me some new archival manila folders (which I ran out of last week!) I have still been able to sort through the materials, just not rehouse them in the nicer, acid-free folders yet. He shot me over an e-mail saying that they would arrive Friday, so next week I can start moving everything over.



The Arbogast Collection is really interesting to sort through. He has collections of lawsuits and discriminatory cases with various letters back and forth between corporation heads and himself. The documents show the gradual acknowledgement of discrimination in the workforce and how these businesses either adapt to become more inclusive or reject the notion that they did anything wrong. It is also nice to see how things were in the 80s and early 90s as opposed to recent years.



On Wednesday, I finally scheduled the oral history with Patty Sheehan and I had a quick meeting with Mr. Geoffrey Cravero about how to formulate questions and conduct an oral history. He offered to help me conduct the one for Commissioner Sheehan since he has experience and the tools needed to make a polished oral history. I am about halfway through figuring out the types of questions I want to ask her, but I want to go through our information on her to see what is missing again. I am really excited to be able to be a part of an oral history, which I already e-mailed one of my professors that I would be skipping one of his classes to conduct it!



Lots of Talks (Week 11)

I got to attend another board meeting on Sunday. I know it is correlation without causation, but I become sick with severe allergies every time I go to The Center! Anyways, not very many people could attend this board meeting, but I think it went very smoothly and everyone presented excellent points. Before the actual board meeting, I met with two board members to discuss the personal and business life of Shafaie to help fill out more information in his biography section. They offered a tremendous amount of information because they both knew him personally. I also received a contact to try to find out more information, specifically regarding his mysterious death. Dr. Beiler had the genius thought of searching for Shafaie’s obituary to see if we could find out more about his family or death, which did, in fact, have his mother’s full name, who donated his collection, and listed his surviving siblings!



Thursday, I got to add the final touches to the Bruce Ground Collection (look at all the box labels!)



Let me tell you, trying to manipulate Microsoft Word to perfectly fit in the labels was no easy accomplishment. Someone needs to tell Microsoft to make the ruler easier to see for us partially blind folk. I also remeasured the labels a 100 times to make sure everything would print as closely to being centered as possible. One thing I have learned from my internship is that consistency is key!



I also shot out an email to Commissioner Sheehan to try to set up a time to conduct an oral history, or at the very least a phone interview, before my internship is over. Unfortunately, that is only a month away, and I was hoping to be able to create an index for it as well, but that is likely not possible. I did reassure her, however, that the museum would love to conduct an interview with her even if I cannot personally conduct it.



The hardest part of this internship is definitely going to be leaving my projects behind if I do not get the chance to finish them. I have generally been able to finish the projects, like the Ground Collection, Shafaie Collection, and possibly even the Arbogast Collection I will be finishing after Messamore next. While Sheehan’s collection is physically processed, the oral history would fill in a lot of gaps that the physical collection cannot.



Friday was spent reformatting the Arbogast Collection from Messamore’s original finding aid into a new finding aid that I will be reworking and finishing. I do not have the boxed to finish the processing, but I did take this time to learn more about Arbogast and add to his biography by snooping through the GLBT History Museum’s website and searching through newspaper article mentions and quotes by him. The only essential article I have discovered thus far was his obituary in the Orlando Sentinel.


I made a call to my connection for Shafaie’s personal life, but depressingly, I went to voicemail and my call has yet to be returned. I finished typing up the scope and content note for Shafaie, though! Other than a possible buttons box, his collection will be completed after Dr. Beiler reviews the finding aid! But I did get in contact with Commissioner Sheehan for an oral history!


That’s all for this week!

Processing Battles (Week 9)

Thursday was spent finishing up the physical processing for the Saviz Shafaie Collection (when I was almost done, I realized that we had been misspelling his last name the entire time!) Most of his collection are photographs, which, lucky for me, were already digitally scanned and posted on the GLBT History Museum’s webpage. It made identifying the events and locations MUCH easier for the finding aid.

Dr. Beiler went over the Patty Sheehan finding aid and helped me make a couple of edits to make the information more precise for future researchers. We decided to try to schedule a day to conduct an oral history with her since our current information about her ends in 2002.

On Friday I inventoried the buttons for the Shafaie Collection.



(What on earth could he possibly have found at fault with the original Star Wars trilogy?)

Mr. David Benjamin from UCF’s Special Collections, who is also a board member of the GLBT History Museum, paid us a visit and went over preservation issues and supplies for the three collections I have been working on. He and Dr. Beiler had to touch the gross, sticky banner too. The best part was throwing away all of the gross stuff from Ground and Sheehan’s collections.

The rest of my Friday was taken over by labelling the Sheehan and Shafaie Collection’s folders and finishing the Container List for Shafaie. The next thing I have to work on is preserving the photo albums for Ground and Sheehan.

Something I noticed about Shafaie’s large photo collection is that although he had all of these events recorded, he does not actually appear in a lot of the events’ pictures. It is actually a pretty rare find to see him physically in a picture at an event. I never even considered that while he may be taking the pictures (and some of them are kind of weird, like pictures of the back of someone’s neck and he has two separate armpit pictures), there is little evidence of him specifically being at these events. I suppose it is not too unusual when looking at his collection as a whole because there is almost no personal information provided. The little information that I do have regarding his life is from a friend of his.




(Here is a work wound- they don’t tell you about the life-threatening dangers of archiving)

Right after spring break we have another board meeting where we will present our progress on the collections and beg for money for more archival supplies. I even ran out of file folders!



Have a wonderful spring break!

Ultra-Productive Week 8

I don’t have any photos for this week, and for that I am deeply sorry!

I went in on Tuesday to make up the Friday I missed before Valentine’s Day. This day was essentially dedicated to the indexing of the Bruce Ground oral history. I had previously gotten some of it done the week before, so I already had the formatting on excel set up. The un-fun part of that was rewinding in ten-second intervals to try to understand what he was saying (partly due to background noises interrupting his words and partly because he has so many people mentioned by name that I had to cross reference every spelling and variation of last name and first name combinations!) Unlike last week, I prepared by having all of the videos downloaded on my laptop before attempting to index!

Thursday I finished up indexing the oral history (I was 6 minutes from finishing it on Tuesday!) and began the Patty Sheehan Collection. I set up the organization for the finding aid first and then worked on the container list as I organized the artifacts. The container list and organization took almost no time at all and I finished them that morning! The office was in chaos with all of the professors having a million meetings and students coming in and the weird smell from the one office (I think it was like a water spill?) with some guys coming in and out to clean it. My archival space very quickly became a waiting room, although everyone was super nice. I got to hear some rumors about how scary Dr. Sacher is, which I found hilarious. My punishment for the productiveness was falling down the stairs on my way to class! No worries, though, because I only ended up with scraped knuckles on one hand!

Friday I finished up the finding aid for Patty Sheehan. It took almost no time to do that and add the oral history into it. I am now working on the Saviz Shafie Collection! His collection is more similar to Bruce Ground’s, but instead of having whole paper documents, Shafie’s collection is almost exclusively scraps of paper, newspaper clippings, and oddly shaped photographs. Dr. Beiler offered me some tips on keeping original order but preventing the acidity from the newspaper clippings from hurting the other paper files. I’m planning on finishing this collection next week, but I will be interrupted by our visit with Mr. David Benjamin from Special Collections regarding several preservation issues from all of the collections I have worked on thus far. After spring break, Dr. Beiler is going to bring in an unfinished collection for me to work on for the rest of the semester!

Good bye for now, especially since I have some hours I need to put in on my Nintendo Switch and Breath of the Wild before next week starts up!

The Mid-Way Point (Week 7)

This week has been all about finishing up the Bruce Ground Collection!


I attended another GLBT History Museum board meeting on Sunday. I arrived at The Center five minutes early and the receptionists were completely lost when I asked them about the board meeting! I thought arriving a little early would be good, but no one else showed up for several minutes! Sarah (or Sara? I’m sorry I don’t know how to spell your name) arrived after me and told me this was per the norm. Unfortunately, I went from fine to the beginning of an extensive asthma attack during the meeting, so everyone casually scooted their chairs away from me because they thought I was catching a cold. I managed to still update everyone on our work with the Ground Collection, though! Everyone had AMAZING ideas for upcoming GLBT History Museum projects, whether they were working on obtaining pictures of the Pulse Quit or creating a display to embody the chaos of the morning after Pulse. I do have to give everyone (virtual) applause for emphasizing the intersectionality of the GLBT community and the Latino community in regards to Pulse.


Thursday, Dr. Beiler and I went over mid-term evaluations. I cannot believe that the semester is already half over! It is both exciting and scary because I won’t be in school come May! I can definitely see myself working as a professional archivist, but it depends on the type of museum I work for and what their needs are. I think archiving has pushed me more towards preservation.
Dr. Beiler reviewed the file folders that were processed to make sure that everything looked good and gave me the go ahead for putting on labels for each file folder! We also set up the plan for the rest of the semester for me to finish the Ground Collection and to start and complete both the Sheehan and Shafie Collections.
Dr. Beiler gave me the format for writing in the labels, which is what I started working on Friday! I had done a ton of edits to the labels on the container list, so I had to reference that more than the sticky notes on each file. After I successfully labeled everything correctly and made sure all paper files were indeed filed, I did the final arrangement of the file folders into alphabetical order. The physical processing (aside from the over-sized items that we need to ask Mr. David Benjamin about) is complete!



(Look at all of the nice, labeled files!)

What is left for me to work on in the Ground Collection is to finish indexing the oral history that Mercy conducted and add some more notes from it to the finding aid! I also did my final edits to the finding aid aside from some oral history notes.

Since the Ground Collection is nearly finished, I transferred the Patty Sheehan collection from its ratty, old box to a nice, new, acid-free box. I also started the basic formatting for the finding aid by referencing how Mercy set up the Bruce Ground finding aid. Her collection will be an adventure as I have already noted several preservation issues with organic materials and sticky paper!


That’s all for this week!

Why No Wi-Fi?!

Thursday I got to finish the physical archiving for the Ground Collection (that is, if we don’t receive more in!) Dr. Beiler and I talked about preservation techniques for archiving, but we mostly focused on the last box we received containing several preservation concerns. Most of those materials are not the best, and we have the problem of the sticky glue stuff, so Dr. Beiler wants us to get a second opinion on the best plan to protect those items from themselves and from infecting other items in the collection.


An ad for the store in the GaYellow Pages and a Tounge-Twister that my brain can’t even pronounce correctly!

While I was looking at the last few physical records to process, I flipped one over and noticed that there were printings across all of the purple and pink Gay Chorus ads! Mr. Ground had printed out a list of all living family members with their relationship to him and created a genealogy list dating all the way back into the early 18th century! As someone who does not have the resources to create a genealogy, I thought this was the most amazing thing I’ve seen. My heart hurts, however, that they were printed on the back on old construction paper ads.


Unsorted Folder = EMPTY

I spent Friday morning reorganizing a few sets of folders in the collection to make the dates more cohesive per file folder. The roughest part of this was separating the book reviews and book covers because I had to manually look each one up online! I also re-integrated the newspapers into the general collection, but I took extra care to follow the existing folds and to file them separately to help prevent the acidity from spreading across the newspapers and also to the other paper documents.

To finish up the finding aid, I thought, “what would be better than to include details from the oral history conducted by Mercy last semester?” Good Wi-Fi would have been a start. I got through two shorter videos fine, but then the cursed little looping circles plagued me the rest of the time. I would finally get the video to load, but 5 seconds later it needed to buffer again! It had gotten to the point that I knew I would not be able to accomplish my goal in any relative time-frame, so I shot an e-mail to Dr. Beiler explaining the situation and that I was leaving the office an hour early in search of better Wi-Fi.

It was not an easy task. I had to trek across campus twice because as soon as I sat down I realized I had forgotten my purse in Dr. Beiler’s now locked office. I also got all of the cardio workout I need climbing up and down the five flights of stairs again.

After all of this, I did accomplish my goal of finding better Wi-Fi and continuing to listen to the Ground interview for key details. I’m glad I decided to enter all of my notes on an excel sheet instead of handwriting them because I realized how much easier it will be for the museum and any future researcher to find specific points in the interviews if I upload it online too!

Catch ya on the flip side

The Short Week (Week 5)


A new Bruce Ground box!

This week I’m finishing up the artifact listing by going through the box we have for this collection. With that being said, I should clarify that it is the last box for the moment because Mr. Ground has already contacted the GLBT Museum to say that he has more stuff to give! We are already at 10 boxes of processed materials!

I remembered to bring my Chicago Manual of Style in today to double check on my bibliography for the book list and cassettes! While Owl Purdue is handy because it is simplistic and online, I trust my tiny manual more for specifics in formatting. I also added the official bibliography entry for the oral history conducted by Mercy in November.

Dr. Beiler and I chatted about descriptions and finding aids, which is probably the part that I need to work on the most before finishing the Grounds Collection. While Mercy did an amazing job starting it, I have definitely found sections to improve on to create a more effective finding aid and container list for a future researcher. My “homework” was to find a few finding aids online and compare them, so I picked a university archive, museum, and a library to compare and contrast. The library’s finding aid definitely reflected more of how one would catalog published books and was not very helpful whatsoever. This prompted a discussion on the ancient blood feud between librarians and archivists on proper levels of description, storage, and accessibility. The museum’s finding aid was detailed to the fullest extend and was the most helpful, but the university’s was definitely the most user-friendly.

We talked a little bit about digitization of finding aids and records, which completely lost me. I am definitely a physical paper copy type of person, but I know the importance of learning about the proper programming formulas for online publishing of finding aids. While I am seriously considering archiving as a career choice, I know I will need to break through my fear of learning the coding language. Luckily, thanks to social media, I understand basic html and the concept of hashtags, which is a major hurtle to begin with.

The last box of artifacts that I began to process definitely is littered with preservation issues. Everything was rolled up and showed lots of wear. Next week is all about preservation tactics, though!



The level of stickiness of this magnet backing is indescribable and this picture does not do it justice.


Unfortunately, I cannot attend my usual Friday interning session due to work demands for the holiday! I will be making up the hours later, however, so I’ll have more to talk about during those weeks!
Happy Valentine’s Day and ta-ta for now!