Combs’ 15 Summer in Jail Eye-Opening Experience

Bailey Combs ’15 – I would like to start of this post by thanking the Lilly Endowment and especially the Wabash Alumni for providing the funding for this internship. By doing so, they have proven themselves to be far superior in their love of their alma mater than their unfortunate friends to the south. I say this because the other intern at the Montgomery County Rotary Jail Museum, my place of employment this summer, is a rising senior at that “other college” and is not being compensated for her time as I am. So thank you for allowing me to save up some money this summer so this fall my Wabash experience will be more memorable as a result.

I chose to go work at the museum because it opened two possible future careers for me. One being a small business owner, because the Rotary Jail is a small, private entity, or utilizing my future history degree to become a museum curator, both of which I can achieve through a liberal arts education. In accordance with the guidelines of the internship, I have spent time creating eye-catching advertising and flyers for the museum, researched potential clients for the museum’s paranormal tours, and will soon be overhauling the museum’s website to incorporate this research. I even found a way for the museum to advertise at the largest paranormal convention in the country in Lexington, Kentucky, later this year. I also proved instrumental in increasing sales in the museum’s gift shop over the last two months. In addition to the goals of the business internship, I also managed to achieve my personal goals of exploring a career in museums.

I loved absorbing information about the museum as well as having the opportunity to talk to people who worked there back when it was an operational jail. I also had the chance to explore the museum’s large collection of items with the new curator. This gave me the material to prove myself as a valuable tour guide. In addition to this, I had the wonderful opportunity to not only help run but plan two summer camps at the museum this summer as well. The activities ranging from art classes to museum tours to tea parties.

This has been a lop-sided positive experience for me this summer. The real setback I have had this summer was opening up the museum for business. Since I lived in Crawfordsville and none of the other employees did, I had to open the museum up two days in a row a few weeks ago and I forgot the security pass-code for the alarm system. As a result, I had to explain to the police why they were called in. Luckily, I have overcome my fear of opening up the museum and have done so without police involvement since that time.

Energized by this summer, I plan to continue my liberal arts education in hopes of continuing my dream as a small business owner or museum curator.

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