August 30, 2017
By Sean Kelly '18
Stephanie Haeg’s mornings this summer started by spending time with Indiana Jones’ fedora and Benjamin Franklin’s printing press.
Haeg, one of 22 College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University students who participated in the Washington, D.C., Summer Study Program, worked at the Smithsonian Institution as one of three reference interns in the Archives Center.
She was responsible for setting up a reading room, shelving research materials from the day before and preparing materials for researchers. The reference interns would also take turns working the front desk.
As the summer progressed, she wasn’t only helping aid the professional researchers, but starting her own. Haeg wrote an article for the National Museum of American History’s blog about the March on the Pentagon to protest the Vietnam War and the various groups that made up the protests on Oct. 21, 1967. The article is scheduled to be published on the 50th anniversary of the march.
While interning at the famous museums, Haeg saw a lot of history.
“It was amazing getting to work with the historical documents and artifacts. The scope of the Archives Center is enormous, and the National Museum of American History as a whole is even larger,” said Haeg, a senior at CSB majoring in history and English.
“I was fortunate to get to go behind the scenes and see some of the amazing collections that they have that are not on display at the moment, and I got a chance to see some unique artifacts in the Archives. It was exhilarating sometimes, finding letters from Julia Child or Alan Alda or other celebrities just randomly while sorting through correspondence.”
Haeg’s experience with archiving didn’t start in Washington D.C., but at CSB. As a first-year student, Haeg started working for Peggy Roske, CSB/SJU’s archivist.
“Being her student worker gave me many of the cataloging, digitizing and professional skills that made it much easier to settle in at the Archives Center,” Haeg said.
In addition, Haeg also worked at the Handel and Hendrix Museum while studying abroad in London.
While she was in Washington, Haeg spent a lot of time with other students in the Summer Study Program. Through this program, they were able to live among classmates, meet prominent persons and alumnae/i and learn about the District of Columbia area.
“It was really great to be there with other Bennies and Johnnies and to meet so many alums and friends of Saint Ben’s and Saint John’s,” Haeg said. “The program directors — Dr. Matt Lindstrom and Dr. Phil Kronebusch — set up amazing seminars with young and old alums and notable characters, such as PBS News Hour's Mark Shields, and President Obama's Chief of Staff, Denis McDonough.”
In addition to the networking she did through the Summer Study Program, Haeg also got the opportunity to meet with various curators, archivists and even John Gray, the director of the museum.
Some of Haeg’s favorite moments from the summer include touring the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress and wondering around the museums in the early mornings, before the crowds arrived.
While reflecting on her summer and simultaneously looking past graduation, Haeg has great admiration for the Smithsonian.
“I adored the Smithsonian and absolutely would love to work there again or at any museum,” Haeg said. “I have long been interested in working in a museum or archive, but the Smithsonian operates at such an impressive scale that it’s impossible not to be awed by it.”