Internship at National Museum of Natural History Helps Student Hone Career Interest

Geneseo senior Bridget Dunn interned between semesters at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. (Photo courtesy of David Price, National Museum of Natural History)

GENESEO, N.Y. - Bridget Dunn was amazed at the seamless coordination of effort among the scientists and staff at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., one of 19 museums administered by the Smithsonian and the most visited. Dunn, a senior anthropology major at the State University of New York at Geneseo from Marcellus, N.Y., spent three weeks between semesters as an intern at the museum. She did everything from update documents in the invertebrate zoology department to getting a close-up view of the mummy vault containing specimens from Egypt, Peru and other countries. The museum contains more than 126 million specimens of plants, animals, fossils, minerals, rocks and human cultural artifacts.

"The most interesting aspect of working there was discovering the great amount of activity and coordination involved in preparing the numerous displays," said Dunn. "The staff and scientists were all very friendly and supportive and encouraged my input. The experience helped me clarify how I want to be involved in the museum field. It was a tremendous networking opportunity."

Dunn has a keen interest in cultural resource management, the practice of managing cultural resources such as the arts and heritage, and she is considering graduate programs in either museum studies or archeology. Her interest grew in the field when she began volunteering in her hometown at the Marcellus Historical Society. She also spent a semester in a study abroad program in the Netherlands.

"Whether it's a town historical society or major national museum, the purpose is to connect the public to our history," said Dunn. "It's important to know where we came from to get a better idea of where we can go."


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