Guest Series: Intern-al Monologue

Intern Sophia Queen will be contributing toward a blog series on the exhibition development process as one of her projects while working here at the Rose Library. 

My name is Sophia Queen; I am currently earning my Master’s degree at Georgia State University in Heritage Preservation with a focus in Public History. As an intern at Emory, I will work with collections to create the basis for two exhibits for the public spaces in Rose Library. I will specifically be working on researching a new thematic exhibit, as well as researching potential changes to the “Research Outcomes” case.

My intention with both of these projects is to develop exhibits which are engaging and informative. I would really like to provide visitors with a sense of what it feels like to conduct research in an archival institution, and how worthwhile that process can be. One way I am doing that is by posting updates to this blog. Every other week, I will post updates on my research, the challenges as well as the rewards. I know this may sound a bit boring at first, but I assure you that it is not.

Just to show you how interesting I can be, here is a brief narrative of my life so far:

I grew up in the rural outskirts of Griffin, Georgia, a small town south of Atlanta. I was always interested in the study of history, regardless of whether it involved looking for arrowheads on walks or reading a textbook. To me, to study history is to study the lives of people, and hopefully to share these important stories with the world.

My interests led me to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in history at a nearby college, Gordon State. At GSC I grew passionate about exploring the histories of people typically overlooked by textbooks. This desire manifested specifically within the realm of Puerto Rican history during the age of American Imperialism. In my studies, I conducted countless hours of research, and interacted with several archives in the process.

While earning my degree, I considered the many options available to a student of history. I came to the conclusion that the best way to further my career was to get a Master’s degree in Public History, which could be used to create different types of narratives. I specifically wanted the option to work with historical materials in order to make the evidence of important stories more available and accessible to scholars.

The creation of exhibits and displays is just another means of storytelling. Each item on display tells a part of a narrative, and when combined in the context of an exhibit can produce a compelling tale. Working with archival collections offers the unique opportunity to put an individual or group’s own records at the forefront, and minimize one’s own interpretation. That is not to say that there is no interpretation involved in creating an exhibit, as you will soon learn this is decidedly not the case. However, when creating an exhibit, especially with an archival collection, there is a greater potential for the subjects to give their perspectives on the events which shaped their lives.

At the Rose Library, I hope to tell the story of Y’un Ch’i-Ho, his life, his ideas, and his legacy. Throughout my development of the exhibition I will make regular posts on this blog in order to give my research process some transparency. In addition to looking through Y’un Chi-Ho’s collection here at the Rose, I will be doing external research into the state of Korea in relation to Y’un Chi-Ho, and the world. Y’un Ch’i-Ho led a very active life of political and religious activism, and dedicated his influence within the United States to the aid of his country. It is truly an honor to tell his story.