History Major Goes Hands-on into Holocaust Past

CONWAY, Ark. (July 17, 2013) – Allison Tschiemer, a senior history major from Dallas, Texas, first visited the Dallas Holocaust Museum as a sixth grader. 

“We listened as a survivor told us about her experiences as a child during the war years,” she said. “It’s a very powerful site with a story which must continue to be told, even after those who bore witness to it are gone.”

This summer, she’s back as an intern.

Until recently, many small-medium sized archive collections across the nation were organized the old-fashioned way with manila file folders. 

The Holocaust Museum has a couple of digital versions of its archives but, with all the information scattered about, it makes for inconvenient for researching, said Tschiemer.

Tschiemer is responsible for the reorganization and reformatting of the Dallas Holocaust Museum’s accession files in Past Perfect digital archives. Past Perfect is software that automates accessions, exhibits, condition reports, repatriation, and incoming and outgoing loans in addition to cataloging archive, library, historic object, art object, natural history, archaeology, and photograph collections.

Tschiemer is assigning new accession and ID numbers (call numbers for archives) and a new location in the appropriate catalog file folder, and updating anything else that the item might need in Past Perfect.

Last fall, Tschiemer took Comparative Genocides, a history course that examines the major genocides that have occurred during the 20th and 21st centuries. In this course, Tschiemer worked on research papers about the Holocaust and completed research in the archives at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. 

“I felt like it was my turn to give back to the archives by understanding the process behind it all,” said Tschiemer. 

While researching at the museum last year, Tschiemer met Pam Barnes, a 2004 Hendrix graduate who is the museum’s development and volunteer coordinator.

Intensely absorbed in the content, Tschiemer admits to not being the most efficient archivist, spending time reading the narratives and documents in the archives. 

“The stories, photographs, and objects there carry so much meaning, and I've enjoyed immersing myself within it this summer,” she said.

Though she’s uncertain what she’ll end up doing after graduation next spring, Tschiemer thinks there is a good chance she will find her way to a museum.

Founded in 1876, Hendrix College is a national leader in engaged liberal arts and sciences education. For the fifth consecutive year, Hendrix was named one of the country’s “Up and Coming” liberal arts colleges by U.S. News and World Report. Hendrix is featured in the 2012 edition of the Princeton Review as one of the country’s best 377 colleges, the latest edition of Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think about Colleges, Forbes magazine's annual list of America's Top 650 Colleges, and the 2013 edition of the Fiske Guide to Colleges. Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. For more information, visit www.hendrix.edu.