Greetings, my name is Jerod O’Neal and I am a junior History major at Oklahoma State University. I have spent this semester as an intern with the Stillwater History at the Sheerar in partnership with the Oklahoma State History department. As many people usually do, I was eager to get some kind of job experience in my desired career field. In this case it was museum work and the Sheerar has been a fantastic fit. Starting at the museum at the beginning of the semester in late January I was not sure what to expect. I always had an idea of museum work being like Night at the Museum and Indiana Jones, of course the reality was even more interesting. I have learned a large amount of different skills while getting to have my hands on some really interesting objects pertaining to Stillwater’s history. In some ways working at a museum has been a lot like other jobs anyone else does. Some days are spent reading emails and typing on a computer, others involve changing light bulbs and painting. However, the difference is every day I get to interact with actual history!
One of the coolest things I got to do during my time at the Sheerar was read through a collection of letters to the head of Yosemite National Park in the 1950s. An affluent man from the Stillwater area was attempting to get his son a job through some old friends. To a lot of people this seems maybe a little interesting at best and excruciatingly boring at worst. But not only do I love history, I also love nature and the US national parks! Getting to experience days like that are why I was interested in museum work to begin with, however, not every day is so eventful. Learning to catalogue items and doing research requests can get monotonous for me really quick. I enjoy moving around and doing things with my hands and the Sheerar has helped me realize I am not destined for a desk job.
However, in many ways the Sheerar has been the best environment I could ask for, to learn what I enjoy doing on a daily basis and what I do not. Since it is a small museum with only a couple of employees I got to do everything possible while at the Sheerar. Although I have realized that being a Museum Director like Amy Loch, our fearless leader here at the Sheerar may not be for me, I have learned that many museums needs people who enjoy building exhibits and organizing collection spaces. This position is called a Preperator, which basically means the guy who prepares the museum for whatever comes next. Had I not been here at the Sheerar I would not have gotten to experience such a wide range of jobs associated with museum work. Yet, now I can confidently say what I enjoy and do not enjoy. As I said, my first couple of weeks at the Sheerar were daunting, learning a myriad of things that were completely foreign to me took some time. But, now I feel like the Sheerar will always been an important part of my experience in College and beyond.
With only a couple of weeks left before my time here is at an end I get to enjoy days spent herding third graders around the exhibits in the Sheerar. As someone who learned from a young age how important history is to the present and to the future I hope that at least one student will have something sparked in them. The Sheerar is an excellent gem of Stillwater and I am super appreciative and grateful to have been a part of its history, even if for such a short time.
Dare to dream, dare to love, dare to laugh! Onward and upward!
Written by Jerod O’Neal