Editor's note: Intern Spotlight is a Ball State Daily News series profiling Ball State students and their summer internships. If you have any suggestions as to who we should feature next, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anna Muckenfuss took her eighth grade trip to Washington D.C. for one reason, to visit the Holocaust Museum.
When it was time to explore the museum for the first time, Muckenfuss and her classmates spent a few hours inside, not enough time for the girl who had been a life-long history buff.
“They only gave us three hours inside the museum and I needed so much more time,” the senior public history major said. “Going on that school trip and seeing all of those artifacts really just kind of cemented my idea that I wanted to work in museums.”
This summer, Muckenfuss has spent more than three hours inside as a summer intern at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C.
Last summer, she sent an email to several people at the museum explaining her passion for history and asking them a simple question, “What do I need to do to get an internship here?”
Little did she know, her previous experiences at the David Owsley Museum of Art, the Center of Peace and Conflict Studies and the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum, made her more than qualified for an internship.
"They looked at my resume, and literally said that if I had graduated already, I would be able to get a job there,” Muckenfuss said. “That just gave me the extra push that I needed to motivate me toward the end of my college career. It took something I had only thought about, dreamed about, and made it that much closer to a reality.”
As an intern, Muckenfuss works alongside with visitor services, meaning she is face-to-face with the visitors, making sure their experience as “meaningful and easy as possible.”
Most days, Muckenfuss can be found answering visitor’s questions and interpreting the permanent exhibit which follows the history of the Holocaust from 1933-1945, a subject that she’s been interested in since the fourth grade.
From a young age, she spent years visiting museums and watching the History Channel with her father. In the fourth grade, her parents ordered her “The Diary of Anne Frank.” After reading the book for the first time, Muckenfuss began to develop her passion for Holocaust history.
“I kind of have wanted to share her story, along with the stories of others who didn’t necessarily write diaries and weren’t published like she was, in her death,” Muckenfuss said. “I feel like the 6 million Jews and 5 million others who were killed by the NAZIs were silenced and I want to be their voice.”
Muckenfuss is of German decent and says that the history of the Holocaust is just as much her history as it is for Germany's. While looking through historical documents, she even realized that one of her distant family members actually went through the Holocaust.
When Muckenfuss first came to Ball State, she thought that she wouldn’t be able to work in museum studies until graduate school, not knowing that there was an undergraduate program perfect for her.
Originally a journalism major, she set up a meeting with her counselor, quickly realizing that it wasn’t the career path for her. She knew she wanted to work in museums, so her advisor told her about the public history track at Ball State and she knew it would be a good fit.
“I didn’t know that there was a program that could get me into museum studies in my undergraduate work, I thought that was something you did in your master’s program,” Muckenfuss said. “Here I am 3 years later, completing my public history degree and being so much farther ahead, even some of my colleagues.”
After graduating Ball State, Muckenfuss plans to return to Washington D.C. and work while she gets her master’s degree in museum studies at John Hopkins University, a school that works closely with Washington D.C. Museums.
“I plan to come back to D.C. in a year and work while I’m getting my degree,” she said. “Hopefully, I’ll be back at the Holocaust Museum sooner rather than later.”