D.C. Diary #1

D.C. Diary #1

Hello from the nation’s capital and welcome back to my blog! I am so excited to be in Washington D.C. for the summer, interning in the Office of Fundraising and Development at the National Museum of American History.

I went out exploring this evening and of course, had to stop by my new home for the summer 🙂

It has been a while since I have written on here, #school, but friends and family have asked me to keep them updated on my summer so this is where you can read about my time in D.C. over the next seven weeks! 

In the spirit of learning and education, here is a brief explanation of the The National Museum of American History and the Smithsonian as a whole.

The National Museum of American History is a part of the Smithsonian Institution (most of which can be found along the National Mall), which is comprised of 19 Museums + 1 Zoo including:

  • African American History and Culture Museum
  • African Art Museum
  • Air and Space Museum 
  • American Art Museum
  • American History Museum
  • American Indian Museum
  • Arts and Industries Building
  • Freer Gallery of Art
  • Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
  • Natural History Museum
  • National Portrait Gallery
  • Postal Museum
  • The Renwick Gallery, Ripley Center, Udvar-Hazy Center
  • National Zoo
  • Sackler Gallery of Art
  • Anacostia Community Museum

You have probably heard that it would take YEARS to try to see everything each museum has to offer and it’s true! The Smithsonian houses over 155 million museum objects and specimens. Additionally, over 28.5 million people visit the museums each year.

Although I am still learning what exactly my job will entail, my office “manages a robust philanthropy program that creates meaningful experiences for members and donors while raising funds to sustain core museum activities including exhibitions, education initiatives, public programs, conservation projects, capital projects, and more.”

Over the course of the summer, I will learn about the different aspects of fundraising and development such as membership, major giving and personal philanthropy, assist with gift acknowledgements, special projects, and events, and help advance the process for individual and institutional donors and prospects.

Now, you may be asking yourself, “What made Meredith want to apply for an internship at The National Museum of American History vs. working on Capital Hill in a congressional office or anywhere else in D.C?” I am so glad you asked. 

From the time I was young, I have loved history and story-telling. Specifically, American History, which has always been my favorite subject in school. From dressing up as Laura Ingalls Wilder in the third grade to tell my class about early American pioneers, reading the biography of Ronald Reagan for my fifth grade book report or immersing myself in AP U.S. history in high school (my favorite class I have ever taken!), I have always had a great appreciation for our nation’s past.  

The first time I visited Washington D.C. was with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s (NRECA) Youth Tour, the summer after my junior year of high school. I traveled with 70 other delegates from Oklahoma for a fully-packed week of sightseeing, leadership development and meeting with our state’s congressional delegation. My eyes were opened to the treasure of our nation’s capital. 

As I walked through these historic streets touring Capitol Hill and the Senate office complexes, visiting the Smithsonian museums and viewing national monuments with my own eyes, the pages of my AP U.S. history textbook were brought to life. Specifically, when we visited the Newseum and I saw all of the major events we had just studied in class, sprawled across the front-pages of newspapers from all across the country. From the stock market crash to the assassination of JFK, to 9/11 to the election of President Obama, the reality of those events and the significant role they have played in our nation’s history hit me. My love for our nation and its history only grew throughout the course of that week. 

My first time to the National Mall in 2015
The wall of front-page news stories at the Newseum

I vividly remember texting my parents on the morning of my second day in the city, as we left the hotel for another day packed full of sight-seeing, that “I WAS IN LOVE WITH D.C & NOT COMING HOME!” Well, I did in fact come home, but the desire to return to D.C. has always been in my heart and mind. So, when the time came for me to find an internship for the summer, I thought, “If I could spend a summer in any city, where would it be?” My immediate answer was Washington D.C. I did some Google searching and when I saw a position listed for a development intern at The National Museum of American History in Washington D.C., I could not contain my excitement. 

I have always been a little bit of a museum nerd- aka the type that reads every line of every exhibit sign and comments about seven times on how hard someone had to work to put the items together, research the topic, etc. and how much I appreciate their attention to detail. So when I saw the position and realized my degree/interests (public relations/development and fundraising/donor relations/event planning/ working with non-profits) could be married with a museum dedicated to my favorite subject (American history) in my favorite city that I have wanted to return to since I was 17, I began working on my application immediately. 

The application process was slightly stressful for a Type A planner like me because the application was not even due until April 1.  And what was I to do in the likely chance I didn’t get the position and it was already late spring? Where I was going to find a job  that point? The Lord and I had multiple “I surrender all to you talks” and I put my “patience” fruit of the spirit to the test. Thank you to those of you who listened to my freak-outs and were with me in the waiting – I appreciate you more than you know. 

The Lord is beyond faithful and despite my moments of doubt and “Am I crazy for even trying to do this?” thoughts, He has provided me with this incredible opportunity to be in my dream city for a summer learning from professionals at the largest museum system in the world. Now, I get to contribute to keeping the stories that have built our nation alive for people of all ages. 

There is some definite unknown in regards to what this summer will hold and I anticipate challenges and experiences that will stretch me WAAYY out of my comfort-zone. However, I also recognize that amongst these challenges and experiences, there is opportunity for great growth and can’t wait to see where the Lord will lead me. If you think of it, I would ask for your prayers that I will continue to seek the Lord’s direction, that he will give me wisdom, open and close doors on my behalf and that I will recognize his voice and follow his promptings. Thank you. 🙂 

I fell in love with Washington D.C. in June 2015. Here I am four years later, as I am about to start my senior year of college (excuse me, what?), in the summer of 2019, headed there again. Here is a throwback to when I was about to board the flight to D.C. with Youth Tour in June 2015 and then today! 

I am on the left, Haley in the middle and Brenna on the right-
all representing OEC on Youth Tour 2015
Me leaving OKC today 🙂

I am BEYOND EXCITED and want to say thank you for coming along on this adventure with me. I cannot wait for the weeks, learning, experiences and growth ahead! I’ll be back next week with an update on my first few days of work. Until then, you can find me navigating the metro system and trying to not look like a total tourist. 🙂 

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” -Ephesians 3:20

-Mere 

Also, not to sound like a total blogger, but I will be posting pictures on my Instagram stories regularly as I explore the city. Follow me @meredithrasnic to see those pics for a real-time look at what I am up to. 

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