Lessons I Learned From Working in Museums

Hey friend – welcome back! Today, I am going to tell some of the things I learned from volunteering in a local history museum, working in a children’s museum, and through my virtual internship with History Colorado. I learned so many lessons and I’m excited to share them with you! Let’s get started! 🙂

Stillwater Museum of History at the Sheerar: 2017-2018

I volunteered at the local history museum in Stillwater my senior year of college (2017-2018). I helped design flyers and helped facilitate Saturday programming for kids. I learned to be patient and how to set up an event in whatever space is possible (no matter how small that space may be). The museum was small and we didn’t have a lot of room…

Here’s a link to an article with a picture of me volunteering! If you have the time and resources, I totally recommend volunteering at a local museum. You will meet so many cool people and learn a lot of new things!

Oklahoma WONDERotirum: 2018-2020

For those of you who don’t know, I went to graduate school at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Go Pokes! While in graduate school, I worked at the Oklahoma WONDERtorium – a local children’s museum that drew visitors from all around the state and the world. 

I was a part-time staff member. But the Oklahoma WONDERtorium was a small museum, so we all wore a bunch of different hats and kind of filled in wherever we were needed. Programming was my favorite and I loved getting to help design and facilitate programs in the museum and in the community.

The museum’s exhibits were built with play-based learning in mind. The kids would come in and learn through play. There was an art station, water table, diner, doctor’s office, nursery, treehouse, theater stage, space exhibit, a mountain, wind tunnel for scarves, and big blue blocks! The exhibits were created to inspire hands-on learning which allowed the children to try new things every time they visited the museum. It was so fun seeing their imaginations run wild! I couldn’t tell you how many plays we watched on the theater stage, how many castles were built using the blocks, or how many times I had pretend birthday cake at the diner. It was so much fun!

There was also a Wonder Room that had different activities each month! The room often had different types of board games or crafts. We even put a woodworking shop in there one summer! Keep reading to hear more about that one! 🙂

My favorite thing I participated in was the Wonder Workshop in the Summer of 2019. We set up a literal woodworking workshop in the Wonder Room. I got to be one of the foremen in the shop and helped build so many projects! We had a little bit of everything and it was so fun to see what the kids dreamed up to build. My motto was if you can draw it, we can build it – and build we did! It was so fun teaching the museum patrons – children and adults – how to use power tools, hand saws, hammers, etc. The longer the patrons stayed in the workshop the more their confidence grew.

I’ll never forget one grandpa who would bring his granddaughter to the museum every week and they would build things together in the workshop. And one day her grandma brought her and the little girl looked at me and said, “One day when I grow up, I want to be just like you.” This meant a lot to me because this little girl saw me working with power tools and knew that she could be anything she wanted to be when she grew up.

I also got to lead story time for a semester! We would read books and sing fun songs. ‘Baby Shark’ was a definitely a crowd favorite!

Finally, I loved being able to represent the museum at local community events in Stillwater. I was able to take activities to local schools, family events at Oklahoma State University, and summer day camps. I got to meet some really cool people at these events. Summer on the Plaza was a recurring event at OSU and I designed our programming for that event around Minute-to-Win-It games. It was so much fun! (Google Minute-to-Win-It to see what kind of games can be played)

The biggest lesson I learned from working in a children’s museum was to have fun, be flexible, and set a good example for the next generation. Be kind and be patient – you never know what you might learn 🙂

History Colorado: Fall 2020

After finishing graduate school, I completed a virtual remote internship with History Colorado. I interned in the Oral History department and learned so many new things! I learned how to do oral history, transcribe interviews, how to accession items into the collection, and how to do research for interviews. It was cool getting to work with people via Zoom that I probably never would have had the opportunity to work with otherwise!

Oral histories are such an important historical resource! You can find oral histories in most state historical societies and the Library of Congress (loc.gov) has several as well. I encourage you to learn how to do oral histories! This is a great way to capture your family history!

For more information, see the following blog posts: How to Conduct an Oral History and How to Write Your Family History 🙂

Concluding Thoughts

Working in all three of these museums taught me something different and I will be forever grateful for the staff who taught me new things. I still use a lot of the skills I learned from the museums in my jobs today!

I hope you’ll go visit a museum in your area sometime soon. Make some time to talk with the staff or volunteers – you never know what you might learn!

I’ll talk to ya soon! 🙂

How to Make Instagram Reels

Hey there friend! Welcome! Today we are talking about how to make Instagram Reels. Instagram has been saying they want their creators to make video content so they can compete with other platforms like TikTok. I know making videos can be scary – trust me, I was so scared a few months ago. Here’s the thing though, the more you practice and try new things the more comfortable you will become with the whole process. So let’s get started!

Your Reel needs to do one of a few things for your audience: educate, entertain, or explain. Some of the best reels I have seen do all of the above. Remember to break down the concept into easy to understand steps because you only have 30 seconds!

Bonus Tip: I have read that Reels under 15 seconds tend to perform the best. People want to be entertained!

Make sure to have fun with your Reels. Your audience wants to see your personality and these short videos are the perfect way to do that. You can dress up in costumes or wear your everyday clothes – just try to stay consistent so your audience knows what to expect from you.

Filming videos everyday can become time consuming so try to set aside a block of time to batch film your reels. You can always edit the reels later! Make sure to have a few outfit changes on hand ready to switch things up. I recommend having at least 3 or 4 outfits per filming session.

Bonus tip: If you batch create your content then you only have the set up ring lights or other lighting options once every few weeks. Once I figured this out, I saved so much more time!

Use trending audio for your Reels. This will help your content get picked up by the algorithm and be shown to more people. You can get inspiration from other creators as well!

Use hashtags that are relevant to your niche, but also choose a few bigger hashtags. These hashtags could potentially help you get picked up by the explore page.

Make sure that the text colors are on brand for your account – again, consistency is key here. Pick a color scheme and stick with it.

Don’t be afraid to dance, do silly things, make goofy faces, or have fun! If someone sees you having fun then they will most likely smile! My goal is to make people happy and teach them things.

Try different things to see what works for your audience and your schedule. I suggest going outside of your comfort zone because that’s the only way to learn and grow yourself as a person.

Concluding Thoughts

I hope these tips for making Instagram Reels are helpful! Once I figured out how to make them, I started having a lot of fun! If there are any other social media platforms that you would like a tutorial for send me an email on my contact page!

If you want to see examples of Instagram Reels I have made head over to my Instagram @the_active_historian. Click on this link here to go to my Instagram Reels page!

I’ll talk to ya soon! 🙂

4 Tips for Building Confidence in Public Speaking

Hey there, friend! Welcome! Today we’re discussing how to build confidence for public speaking events. If you’re like me, then public speaking doesn’t always come easy. It has taken me years of practice to feel comfortable talking in front of a crowd. So today, I am going to tell you my top 5 tips for public speaking, easing public speaking anxiety, and building confidence. 

For the tips in this article to work the best, I recommend having your presentation finished at least two weeks in advance. This isn’t to say that you can’t continue making changes, but it helps to have the main points set.

*You can still use these tips though if you have less than two weeks!

1. Finish the Presentation

Personally, I find that a lot of my stress comes from not having a presentation finished. So finishing the presentation is my first tip for public speaking success. After you finish the presentation rough draft, walk away for a few hours and come back to it. You’ll want to read through it again to make sure there are no spelling errors and that your slides are arranged how you want them. 

2. Read Your Presentation Aloud

Second, I want you to read your presentation out loud in your house or in your parked car if you have roommates or just want to be alone. Take the time to edit clunky words or sentences. After you do this, I want you to put it down for a day or two. 

3. Time Your Presentation

After a few days, I want you to time yourself giving the presentation. Set a timer on your phone or computer and make the screen go dark. I want you to read your presentation just like you would for the group you are going to be speaking to. Remember to not speak too fast. You’ll be nervous on the day of your presentation so practice speaking slowly and enunciating your words. 

BONUS TIP: NEVER go over your presentation time limit. It is always better to be under by a few minutes or right on time. 

4. Practice Giving Your Presentation to Someone

After you’ve got the timing down for your presentation, I want you to find someone to give your presentation to. They’ll be your practice audience. This can be in person or on the phone. The more people you can practice on, the better. Your confidence will grow each and every time you give your presentation and if you give it enough times you might even start to memorize your lines. 

Try to practice your presentation in the outfit that you want to wear. This can help you feel more comfortable. Personally, I practiced my presentation in one pair of shoes and realized that I couldn’t stand still and had to change to a different pair of shoes! 

BONUS TIP: If you can memorize parts of your presentation it allows you to make more eye contact with your audience which allows for a deeper connection. 

Concluding Thoughts

After you’ve practiced your presentation, I want you to put it aside for another few days. You just have to believe in yourself and your abilities now. You know your work, you know the research, and you know what kind of people will most likely be in the audience. You will speak what you know to be fact and there’s nothing else you can do. You’re going to do great! I believe in you! 

I hope you found something helpful today! I know public speaking can be difficult, but if you practice these tips and tricks for public speaking then you should grow more and more confident each and every time! For more tips on how to give a great presentation check out this article next: 10 Tips to Nail Your Next Presentation

I’ll talk to ya soon! 🙂 

10 Resume Skills From History Class Explained

Hey there, Friend! Welcome back! Today we are discussing what resume skills you learn from history class. This is only a short list and by no means a comprehensive one. 

I hope this helps you articulate what skills you have and that you land the job of your dreams! Let’s get started 🙂 

1). Research 

Research is one of the first things you learn to do in history class. You need to be able to decipher what is fact and what is fiction. You learn to differentiate between primary and secondary sources and discover where to look for them. 

Research is definitely a transferable skill for most jobs. You can look up information on companies that are your competition! 

2). Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is such an important skill to learn. Often, you will be presented with a set of facts and have to figure out what is true, how it applies to you, and how it affects the larger world. Critical thinking is crucial for success on the job market. 

3). Writing 

I won’t lie to you, you will have to write a lot in your history classes. But writing is arguably another one of those skills that is crucial to success. Writing is the key to communication in every job, whether that be emails, memos, or copy! 

Businesses will ALWAYS need people who can write, and write well. 

4). Problem-Solving

Problem-solving is another life skill that is just pretty useful to know. Knowing how to remain calm when things go wrong is so, so important. 

Try to think of creative and unique ways to approach the problem. This might help create the short-term or long-term solution that your company needs! 

5). Communication 

Communication is crucial for any job or business. You must be able to communicate with customers, coworkers, bosses, and more. History classes teach you how to have civil discussions with classmates and how to present your information in a clear way. Communication is KEY. 

6). Analysis

Analysis is another important skill to have. Being able to take data and interpret it is very important. Bonus points if you can take the data and make it into tables or graphs. Organizing spreadsheets is another important thing to do with data analysis. 

7). Organization

Organization is SO important. Often, you come up with your own way of organizing things and this skill is totally transferable to the work place. This can include keeping a calendar/planner, keeping your workspace clean, or helping reorganize an office space. Organization comes in many shapes and sizes. 

8). Time Management

Time management is also very important! You have to be able to keep up with meetings, appointments, assignments, larger projects, and anything else your company needs. Calendars and planners are a great tool to help you achieve time management. 

Time management also includes prioritizing tasks. You have to learn which tasks must be done first and which ones must be delegated if you can’t finish them alone. (Again, communication is key here.)

9). Debate/Forming an Argument  

History classes teach you how to debate with other people in a civil manner. This is important for being able to present your point of view later in life. 

You also learn how to form an argument. This skill can help you write and speak clearly on a variety of topics. 

10). Public Speaking 

Lastly, public speaking is a very important resume skill you can learn! Public speaking builds confidence and teaches you how to speak clearly. It also teaches you how to concisely present your point of view in an entertaining way. 

Concluding Thoughts

I hope these 10 resume skills help boost your resume! Make sure to check out my instagram page (@the_active_historian) to see a few more posts on resume skills from history class! Join in on the conversation there!

I’ll talk to ya soon! 🙂 

10 Tips to Nail Your Next Presentation

Hey there! I’m assuming you have a presentation to give sometime soon! That’s awesome! Today, I am going to give you several tips to give an engaging presentation. 

I have presented my research at multiple conferences – winning prizes at four of them! I love public speaking and engaging with the audience. My public speaking career began when I spoke in front of my FCA club my freshman year of high school. So, I guess you could say that I have had some time to practice. Let’s go ahead and get started. 

1. Make sure that you are dressed for the occasion.

You want to look professional and put together – no sweat pants or hoodies. Make sure that you’re wearing comfortable shoes too! 

2. Organize your equipment.

Double check that you have all the equipment you need for your presentation. This can include a computer, pointer/clicker, adapter cables, flash drive, hard copy of your presentation, etc.

BONUS TIP: Make sure to take a water bottle with you! 

3. Try to stay relaxed as possible when you’re in front of the room. 

Some conferences have chairs for you to sit in while other places will have you stand behind a podium. Just keep your body relaxed! 

4. Make eye contact with people in the audience. 

Sweep your gaze around the room and make eye contact with people in the audience. If you make eye contact with someone – smile at them! They’ll most likely smile back at you and this will help you feel more relaxed. 

5. Speak with confidence. 

You are the expert in the room once you start talking. Everyone is there to hear what you have to say! You put the hours into this presentation and should feel proud of your work! 

6. Don’t worry if you stumble over your words! 

Nobody is judging you, I promise. Bonus points if you are able to laugh at yourself. This will show other people in the room that you are still human and comfortable with yourself! 

7. Speak slowly and enunciate your words. 

Sometimes it’s easy to get nervous and you might start speaking quicker than usual. This makes it really hard for people to understand you. Just remember to take a deep breath, speak slowly, and enunciate your words. 

8. Make sure that you are projecting your voice. 

This is especially if the room doesn’t have a microphone set up for you to use. You might even start your presentation by asking if the people in the back of the room can hear you. If they can, that’s great! If not, you’ll have to speak louder. 

9. Make sure to thank the audience for their time and attention. 

Depending on the presentation this would be the time to ask if the audience has any questions. Try to answer as many questions as possible. Don’t make up something if you don’t know the answer to an audience member’s question. Simply tell them that it was an excellent question and that you don’t know the answer to it. Make a mental note of the question or write it down quickly! Audience questions can make your presentations better over time. 

10. After the presentation and question time is over, you can ask any friends or colleagues in the audience if they have any critiques of your performance. 

These need to be trusted people that will give you good advice that will make you a better professional speaker. 

Concluding Thoughts

*At conferences or symposiums: Carry a pen and notebook in your bag. You will want to take notes during other talks. I have learned so much from other people’s research. You can also take note of how other people present their research/talks.

I hope these tips help you out on your next presentation. You’re going to do great! I just know it! 

I’ll talk to ya soon! 🙂 

(Left) 2nd place finish for American History Graduate Students. My cohort swept the prizes for US History that year!
(Right) 3rd place finish for American History Graduate Students. Shout out to my friend for snapping the picture of me speaking!

Business Outfit Ideas For Women

Ladies, have you ever wondered what to wear to a business meeting, conference, or professional networking event? Today I am a going to give you 5 easy women’s business outfits for looking professional and classy. 

I’ve always been told that it is important to dress for the role that you want. I’ve also been told that wearing professional clothes can be beneficial to people who don’t look old enough to do a certain job (i.e. me – I still regularly get asked if I am in high school…) So I love wearing professional business suits and sets!

The following outfits are examples that I have worn to business meetings, academic conferences, and professional occasions – so I know from experience that these outfits work! 

1. Slacks for Women, Blouse, & Blazer

This is a good combination for everyone. I think it is important to have these staple pieces in your closet. You can go with neutral colors or go with bright bold colors! I have black, gray, and purple slacks that I like to rotate. My blazer is black! Then, I have several different colors of blouses that work with all the slacks. 

Bonus tip: Make sure to have the slacks hemmed at the bottom if they are too long. You don’t want to trip on the hem of your pants. 

2. Business Skirt, Blouse, and Heels

This is my favorite outfit combination! I am a short person and I never have to get my skirts altered! Skirts are so versatile and comfy! There are so many patterns, cuts, lengths, and styles to choose from. 

Bonus tip: It is important to invest in warm tights for the winter months or chilly offices! I also love the fun patterned tights for the spring as well. Personally, I have always kept skin-colored, black, and purple tights in my wardrobe. 

3. Pantsuits or Rompers

I love romper suits. I have a navy suit with white stripes and like to call it my “boss suit” (LOL). These outfits always look professional and put together. Personally, I like to wear heels with mine so the bottoms don’t drag the ground, but you could easily get them hemmed as well.Rompers are so simple – you only have to put on one piece of clothing and you look great. I would definitely invest in 2-3 rompers. 

4. Dresses

I love wearing dresses! There are so many options and styles to choose from! You can pick solids, patterns, or a combination of both. Some even have pockets! Like the rompers, most dresses are one piece and so easy to style. 

5. Jeans and Blouse

For a more causal look you can always stick with jeans and a blouse. This will always be a classic in most wardrobes! Again, there are so many options with this style. You pick different colors, patterns, material, and cuts of your jeans. Blouses are the same way – so many options, so little time! 

Concluding Thoughts

Next time you have to dress for a professional occasion – remember one thing – you want to be comfortable. If you’re not comfortable in the outfit you’re wearing then you most likely won’t be confident. Dress your best and you’ll rock whatever occasions you have to attend! 

I hope this was helpful! Please let me know if you would like to see more articles about professional attire in the future! 

I’ll talk to ya soon! 🙂 

Things to Include in Your CV

Hey there friend! So you need to write a CV? What even is a CV? Well – a CV is similar to a resume, but you list all of your academic and professional experiences. Unfortunately there isn’t really a set template on what to include and what not to include in your CV. I suggest looking on your university’s website to see if your professor’s CV is online. You can always make your document look similar to theirs.

Here is a list of the things I noticed most people included in their CVs. I hope it helps you! 🙂

Things to Include in Your CV

1. Education 

2. Relevant Work Experience in the Field 

3. Scholarships, Grants, & Awards

4. Conferences, Research Presentations, & Invited Lectures

5. Articles: peer reviewed & non-peer reviewed 

6. Media Appearances: interviews, radio, podcasts, television, documentaries, etc. 

7. Department, Professional, & Community Service

8. Professional Memberships & Organizations 

9. Languages: spoken, written, & reading knowledge 

10. Publications: books, essays, etc.

Concluding Thoughts

I hope this is helpful! Now go make a CV that will wow everyone! 

I’ll talk to ya soon! 🙂