Internship Week #12: Going Down the List

There are a number of loose ends that need to be tied up before the end of the semester and beginning of the summer for the Florida in World War I project. This week I have been jumping from one component of the project to another, trying to get done what I can.

First and foremost, the website design itself, I think, is fairly complete (though there will always be room for change and improvement). If you look at the images in the gallery below, you can see the way the website is setup (or feel free to click here to go directly to the website). Essentially, the homepage has a slider on it that rotates various posts and pages we want to highlight. When you go on an individual page or post, it will show you (as seen in the second screencapture) rotating promo boxes. This was a great solution to the lack of color issue that was a concern when the website first began (which you can see in the third photo in the gallery below).

The next item I worked on was the Resources page. The project’s advisor, Dr. Barbara Gannon, presented today at the Society for Military History Annual Meeting on the project. In preperation for that, I sat down with Dr. Gannon and another project coordinator, Tyler Campbell, to get some materials together in anticipation for Dr. Gannon’s presentation, which included getting some resources up. I put up several sources (online resources and books) in order to have something up while I still continue to organize and sort. I think though, whether I figure out a way to sort the sources and organize them where they are easily searchable, I may put up more in the simple format I already have. At least this way there are sources up for those that visit the website.

In addition to the work I mentioned above, I have been working on three research and writing components to the project. The first is my historiography for my internship. The second research and writing component is my encyclopedia entry for the website. The entry is in the form of a fleshed out outline, but should be a fully composed entry by next week. I have decided to use some of the research I presented at the conference I attended in London, specifically how the United States viewed and handled those with shell shock. And thirdly, I am working on an academic journal article that is in the works on the project for publication. I am working with my fellow project coordinators to write about the creation and history of the project, as well as a myriad of components that have sprung from the project including the Soldiers of Florida databases, the website, conference papers and posters (see below for screenshot of the poster that the project presented at the 2016 Graduate Research Forum at UCF), and more.

There is definitely a great deal to work on this upcoming week. Let’s hope for a productive one!

31/03/2017
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Internship Week #11: A Long To-Do List

I meant for spring break a time of getting ahead on a bunch of tasks that I had been working on since I returned; however, I did not accomplish as much as I would have liked during spring break. This week has been about trying to play catch up so to speak and getting as much done as possible so I can move forward with other tasks for the project. The design of the website has taken a back seat and I am trying to work on formatting the current content so it is uniform. In that process I have also been editing, which has taken more time than I anticipated. In addition, the resources page is taking a lot longer than I had hoped. I have been going through a number of sources, trying to see which are relevant to the project and finding ways to organize them. I think that has been the biggest challenge with the resources. Having a simple long list, while more than nothing, does not help when looking for something specific. So trying to find a way to organize everything, how to categorize the resources, is a challenge. I think another issue is that I find myself so captivated by the sources we have collected since the project began that a lot of my time is spent on simply exploring these resources out of my own interest and curiosity. This coming week I have to be a little more mindful of time so my to-do list shortens.

In this coming week I plan to finish everything I have been working on listed up above. My next steps include working on an encyclopedia entry of my own for the website. The conference paper I presented in London has a lot of research that I think I can use for an encyclopedia entry. It centers on my own personal research, specifically the American perspective on shell shock. I am going to go through my conference paper and sift through the research and see what I can use. Once I have that done, I am going to outline the entry. Hopefully I can complete a draft of the entry in the coming week and have something to present the week after next. In that time as well, I need to also work on the historiography.

I am definitely feeling the time crunch as the end of the semester is rapidly approaching. I have to keep reminding myself though, that just because the internship ends the first week of May, that does not mean that the work on the project ends- or my work on the project ends. I will be continuing to work on the project and anything that needs to be completed can be completed after the internship is over as well; however, I do want my time with this project in an intern role to have a lot to show for it, and a lot to work with once it has come to an end.

24/03/2017
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Internship Week #9: Resources and a Historiography

It has been a while since I last posted on my internship. After a few weeks away from the project, I am back at work and am actively working on multiple components of the Florida in World War I project. As with all my previous weeks, the website has been the priority, but I have taken a step back from the design in favor of working more closely on the content. I am centering my attention on the Resources section of the website, expanding upon a bibliography an undergraduate student put together last fall. The bibliography the student put together has a number of works that have small pockets of information on Florida in the First World War, but the works need to be combed through and organized. In addition to the few sources on Florida in World War I, my fellow project coordinators and I want the Resources section to go beyond just the focus of Florida. We have slowly been gathering various resources, which I have been putting together. I have also been adding books from my own research. The trick is trying to organize them in a way that helps those that visit the website to go through and find exactly what they are looking for. Or, if they are just browsing, it makes it easy to go through the resources without jumping from one topic/theme to the next.

In addition to working on content for the website I have also had my focus on the historiography paper that my internship requires. As I study World War I outside of my internship, I want to do something that will not only satisfy the requirement, but will help with my research in the future. After speaking with my internship supervisor, Dr. Barbara Gannon, we agreed that centering my historiography on memory and the First World War will prove beneficial. I have read a number of books on memory of the First World War and I am looking forward to creating a historiography around that. I think having the books together in one historiography paper will really be an advantage in the future, understanding the historical arguments and trends that I hope to fit my own work in. One of the books I am including in the historiography I am currently rereading. The book is called Bodies of War: World War I and the Politics of Commemoration in America, 1919-1933 by Lisa M. Budreau. Budreau argues there are three stages of the American response: repatriation, remembrance and return. Outside of the Florida and World War I project, my own research has primarily been centered in Europe, but this book opened me up to American aspects of memory and remembrance. It is interesting to see the parallels between the American perspective and the European perspective, including the politics of the physical act of burial.

As for this coming week, even though it is spring break, that does not mean the work stops! I am going to continue working on the project throughout the week with hopes of catching up from my time away.

10/03/2017
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London Days 9-11: Revisiting, Researching, Returning Home

I am back in the Sunshine State as my incredible trip to London, England has come to a close. My trip was a blessing in so many ways and as much as I wish I had made my way to London sooner, I think having this as my first trip at this point in my life was exceptional timing. I do not think I would have had the experience I had- appreciate everything as much as I did- had I gone sooner. I am very grateful and cannot wait to go back. But there is still more to tell on my last few days in London.

On my 9th day in London I wandered back over to Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. Unlike that previous Sunday, I was finally able to go inside Westminster Abbey. Understandably, I do not have photographs from inside as it is a church, a place of worship, and photographs are not allowed; however, take my word for it, the inside is magnificent from the stain glass windows to the intricate memorials and tombs. You can see history moving through time with the architecture and the tombs, and overall, it is just a beautiful place. Yet, it is a very overwhelming place. It is hard to focus on one thing at a time because no matter where you look or step, you are faced with the resting place of multiple people. Because of this, I decided to venture back to Westminster Abbey the following day as well. I think going back to allowed me the ability to see things I missed the day before. And I also declined the audio tour the second day; instead, I sat several times and just took in everything I was seeing, everyone I was seeing.

After Westminster Abbey, I ventured back to the Tower of London. After going the first time earlier that week, I knew I had to go back. Much like my second trip to Westminster Abbey, I had missed so many things my first time visiting. I took a lot of time to go through each tower and really just look at the architecture and the very interesting graffiti that is carved into the walls of the towers. I was struck by how tight and narrow the hallways and staircases are. It made me wonder what it would have been like to be in such a claustrophobic place with the very real possibility of losing your head. Speaking of which, I was also able to go inside the Chapel Royal of St. Peter ad Vincula where many who did lose their heads ended up. It was such a beautiful little chapel. It was also somewhat funny, the small group that I entered the Chapel with, four of the group members asked, “Where is Anne Boleyn buried?” Put my want to see where she is buried aside, I thought to myself, “I wonder how many people ask for Anne’s cousin Katherine/Catherine Howard or Lady Jane Grey?”

The following day, day ten of my trip, I took the day a little easy and just wander around the city aimlessly. I got on the tube that morning and randomly got off at a stop not far from Buckingham Palace, so I decided it was time I see the Queen… the current living Queen that is- in my entire trip I saw a number of queens (Elizabeth I, Mary I, Mary Stuart…). Anyway, I strolled through the park and made my way to one of the gates of Buckingham Palace.

As it turns out, I was somewhat on time for the Changing of the Guards. Personally, I think people were waiting to see if the Queen and/or her family would emerge. It certainly seemed like many thought she was coming out because once the band and change of guard happened, everyone walked away looking very disappointed; however, I was excited to have had the experience. I think my favorite part was the band playing “Summer Lovin'” from Grease. I have to say, not what I was expecting at all.

By the time the Change of Guard took place and I wandered around outside Buckingham Palace and walked The Mall, I found myself at Trafalgar Square. I ended up going back into both the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery, looking closely at things I had missed and revisiting a number of paintings and portraits.

Day 11 was bittersweet. I spent this last day at the Imperial War Museum in their Research Room, taking 800+ photos of some really incredible treasures that I cannot wait to use in my research. In my time researching, I was finding new things and thought of something I could add to my thesis that would enrich it. It is a component that I had never considered because I did not know there was much to go on; however, thanks to my time at the Imperial War Museum, I have that component.

After researching, I went through the exhibits again, the World War I exhibit two more times, before I bid the IWM a farewell. As I said it was bittersweet, but I reminded myself I will be going back… very, very soon.

I stayed at the IWM right before it closed and decided to make my way back to my hotel. By that time it was 7pm and I had to be ready for a very early morning to head back home. When I got back to the hotel, as I was packing, I went through all of the books and pamphlets I received from each place I visited and did not find myself sad to be leaving, but excited to have had the trip and to make my way back. I know all of the places I visited- Westminster Abbey, Hampton Court, all the museums including the IWM, everything!- will be waiting for me.

03/03/2017
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