Katrina Research Center (KRC)

Katrina Research Center (KRC)
Katrina Research Center at USM

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sept. 20 - 24th (4th week)

Well, I had great fun last week jumping about while getting ready for the exhibition opening for "Life in a Snapshot" and "Art at Gulf Park." It was a busy week, where I was also developing grant proposals for the GCDR. I finished the exhibition map and setup a table on the 1st floor of the library with a KRC sign so patrons here for the exhibition could locate all of the art displays on the first two floors and find the KRC on the third floor. I have been rather behind in homework for other classes this week because of how immersed I was in practicum, work, etc.

The night of the exhibition I arrived early with ice and setup the snack area. We had all kinds of yummy food (especially the spinach-artichoke dip). That stuff was like crack. Around exhibition opening time, only several people were in attendance. According to Dr. Nuwer, exhibition openings are always up in the air on who shows up. Luckily, more people showed up and made the event a success. Dr. Nuwer also sent me home with lots of snacks to share with relatives that were coming in from England that weekend. All in all, it was a great week to be at the KRC!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sept. 13 - 17 (3rd week)

This past week at the KRC involved preparation for the "Life in a Snapshot" and "Art at Gulf Park" exhibits. I feel like I really impressed Dr. Nuwer and Shugana by creating a detailed exhibition map for the entire library. I also worked hard on flyer blurbs and an easel board for both exhibits, and am getting really excited about the September 23rd opening. This week was a great preparatory time on all of the little nuances required in material and information gathering going into an exhibit.

I also submitted a proposal for the Gulf Coast Disaster Repository (GCDR). It is an idea I had for an integrated digital natural disaster database linked to the Katrina Research Center. I will follow-up on what direction this went on next week's blog. I ended the week by communicating with a picture archive submission of Katrina numbering in over 1,000 photos. We are gathering technical metadata from the submission and forwarding it to the Mississippi Digital Library (sic) next week.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sept. 7 - Sept. 10 (2nd week)

This past week at the KRC was a very memorable one for me. I spent time learning about the displays and different types of art the center uses in their exhibitions. Shugana explained that she is constantly contacting large amounts of people to encourage donations to themed and non-themed exhibitions. We had an oil spill display that I had worked on last week, art from sea life etchings copied over on carbon paper, and pottery in the cases downstairs and on the second floor.

We also took down the "silent witness" exhibit this week and set up a new exhibit. I had the opportunity to meet Frank, a local volunteer that is a retiree from the railroad, who assisted in hanging the last three exhibits. Frank also was behind the creation of the walls for our exhibits. He is a meticulous man that has much experience to share with the younger generation. I took the time to re-organize the meeting room used for storage of files and art pertaining to the many previous exhibits ran by the KRC. Dr. Nuwer and Shugana were very excited to see that there was actually a table under all of the clutter. I felt a sense of excitement to show them the room, since it is now more organized and can be used for it's original purpose.

I also worked on securing information on upcoming and current publications on the oil spill to appeal to publishers for a donated copy for the KRC collection. Hopefully they will get back with us over this next week with good news! I spent some time researching grants that could help with an upcoming proposal for a 1-stop Gulf Coast disaster repository I will pitch to Shugana later this week.

Amidst the sea of craziness going on in the KRC with the changing out of exhibits, Dr. Nuwer and Shugana were furiously getting the final touches on the fashion show fundraiser finished before Friday. Beau Rivage, who had agreed to cater the event, had not returned Dr. Nuwer's calls all week. Finally, they reached her on Thursday to iron out the final details. Door prizes were secured, beverages were furnished, and all of the other parts were fit into place to make the fashion show a memorable event for the attendees.

I arrived at 1 p.m. on Friday to assist with setting up the event. I ran errands to the market and made multiple trips to the KRC from the event floor to cart items over. I helped set up tables and beverages for the models and support staff. There was an electric air circulating through the event hall, and everything had culminated into a grand event (much due to planning that started in May).

My wife and I were invited to attend, but I did not have a babysitter for my son who is 2 years old. I wanted the event to go smoothly, and was nervous that he would be the only child there. I find that Dr. Nuwer and Shugana are truly receptive to my ideas, and that makes me enjoy this internship experience that much more. I look forward to what next week will offer.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Aug. 31 - Sept. 3 (1st week)

My first week at the Katrina Research Center (KRC) was an initiation, and set the theme for the rest of the Fall semester. I realized immediately that Shugana Williams, my practicum advisor, was a very talented and multi-faceted individual who was involved in a balancing act of about 6 or 7 current operations being conducted at the KRC. I was glad to jump right in and help as much as I possibly could.

Dr. Deanne Nuwer, who I had previously known from USM while getting my BA in History, works with Shugana as the director of KRC. I honestly don't see how these two people do it. I have only had a small taste of the operations happening right now, while they are planning up to 6 months ahead and balancing teaching, exhibits, and donor operations. The KRC is housed on the 3rd floor of the Gulf Coast Library at USM's Gulf Park Campus in Long Beach, MS. It seems to perfectly fit into the library, and integrates into current library operations. The KRC is fully donor-based, which is the distinction between the KRC and the library which houses it.

Currently, I am helping at the KRC reference desk and learning about the methodology of creating and sustaining exhibits. My first week was a bit like jumping into an ocean hoping that a life raft was somewhere around, but everything worked itself out due to an ample amount of understanding by Shugana.

The current operations that Shugana has me helping with are:

  • Finding publishers to donate monographs to the KRC regarding the oil spill in the Gulf.
  • Transcribing emails from guest logs to add to a current mailing list
  • Preparing photographs on art blocks with blurbs for a current oil spill themed display on the ground floor of the library.
  • Helping take down exhibits in preparation for new ones
  • Aiding in the Fashion show fundraiser (Sept. 10) by setting up and selling tickets
  • Assisting with a current library bake sale fundraiser (Sept. 9) for the American Heart Association