Earlier this year I started as an intern in the Neville Public Museum. I enjoyed it so much that I returned over the summer to volunteer. Being in a museum is a magical experience to me and working around the museum is more so. What a visitor to the museum sees walking through an exhibit is only part of the many wonders that the museum holds. The history of each object seems to seep from its pores. One of my favorite things to do while I have a moment of free time is to meander down the aisles and try to imagine who previously owned the objects and what their story was before coming to rest upon the teeming shelves. The shoe collection alone must contain an unknowable amount of stories. Think of how widely they’ve traveled.
The objects that the museum contains range widely in their origins. Although most of the objects have some connection to Wisconsin there are some objects that have traveled far from their birth place. One such object is a set of Japanese Samurai armor. The Neville also owns two mummies from Egypt, one is a cat and the other is a falcon. There’s also a petrified tusk of a mammoth that was found in Alaska and dates to over 9,000 years ago.
Sometimes the museum can be scary as well. The armor I previously mentioned is a great example of this. Truth be told, this particular object scared me at first because a life-like model of a head to hold the helmet was donated along with the armor. Opening the box and seeing a pair of dark eyes staring back at me caused my heart to stop. Although the dark corners of the museum hold wonderful and interesting secrets, the corners can still be scary to someone with an over- active imagination; which makes working here all the more fun.
By Ari, Collections Intern