This summer, the Harry Ransom Center’s Preservation and Conservation Department opened its doors to undergraduate interns in order to provide hands-on experience in the field. One of those interns is Malachi McMahon. A rising senior at Prairie View A&M University, McMahon is spending a month learning about preservation, conservation, digitization, and more.
There are few routine days on the job for McMahon, whose favorite days have included learning about the binding, design, and construction of 16th-century bibles and making isinglass, a natural glue made from gelatin and sturgeon bladders.
If you have any interest in fine arts or literature, history, this would be a great place to find a new experience and perspective.
“I expected to do more paperwork, but I’m actually glad that I’m doing more hands-on training,” McMahon said. In addition to these new skills, McMahon says he will take other lessons back to school in the fall. “I learned how to be more professional and how to carry myself in a professional setting.”
McMahon’s interest in the summer internship was sparked by an interest in history. “Once I saw the importance and historical in historical artifacts and records, I felt the need to help preserve and play a role in that,” he said. He has been most surprised by the abundance and variety of the different objects in the Ransom Center’s collections, and the Robert De Niro collection has particularly sparked his interest due to its size and scope.
When he returns to school in the fall, he’ll be completing his degree in digital media arts, a degree that he now hopes to put to use in a career related to preservation and conservation. In addition to this work, McMahon also has his own clothing line, Imaginary Volume, for which he received an AT&T Dream in Black Rising Future Makers award.
For any other students interested in an internship at the Harry Ransom Center, McMahon says, “If you have any interest in fine arts or literature, history, this would be a great place to find a new experience and perspective.”