Museum of American Finance

The mission of the Museum of American Finance (MAF) is to create public benefit through the acquisition, preservation and display of financial objects and information, showcasing the breadth, importance and richness of American financial history and providing a deeper understanding of financial markets and the nation’s economy.

The Museum is an independent, non-profit 501(c)(3) Smithsonian affiliate creating non-ideological presentations and programs for purposes of education and general public awareness. Financial education is at the core of the Museum’s mission, seeking to promote lifelong learning and inquiry.

Internship Spring 2011

Catriona Schlosser: working with Becky Laughner, the assistant director of Exhibits and Archives to organize and accession items in the archive. I am also creating labels and a possible educational game for the upcoming Alexander Hamilton exhibit.

For my final project with the Museum of American Finance, I worked on a student activity sheet to accompany the newest exhibit, “Alexander Hamilton: Lineage and Legacy.” Working on this sheet illuminated the importance, and at times frustration, that goes into creating an institutional voice. All exhibit labels, twitter feeds and educational activities must use the same vocabulary and sentence style in order to create one voice that represents the museum. Although this may seem obvious, I never dealt with this issue directly. My supervisor, the education director and eventually the deputy director edited each version of my project. Surprisingly, maintaining a voice that was consistent with both the education department and the museum as a whole became the most difficult part of this assignment. Everything, including the font’s style and size, along with the placement of the pictures had to be consistent with past educational activities.

With each revision the project became more tedious; I reached a point where I did not want to look at the sheet ever again. After its completion though, I reflected on the process and realized that the emphasis on an institutional voice is important. I definitely felt more accomplished since the sheet looked and read like the other activity sheets at the museum. Simply put, it looked more professional and I am glad I was forced to go through the tiresome review process. It also made me more aware of other institutions that are remiss in maintaining consistency in their products. In my opinion an institutional voice is important in maintaining professionalism and trustworthiness in an institution, and I think it is great that the Museum of American Finance requires their interns to follow their institutional guidelines as well.

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