Intern Highlight: Brandon Sherer

Posted June 4, 2024 in General, Intern Highlight

Intern Highlight: Brandon Sherer

I went into my undergraduate career pursuing a career in education. My passion for history was matched with a desire to educate others and express why understanding the past is critical. By my senior year I found that public education did not provide me the satisfaction and fulfillment I needed and pursued a career change. However, I still had a drive for education and wanted to find another way to make history accessible and engaging for the public. I decided to shift my career focus into museum, library, or archival work to have a hands-on approach with history and help make historical information accessible and engaging for the public. My next step was to find a way to gain experience in the field and that was when I found an opportunity with the Moravian Archives.

The archives, focusing on the history of the Moravian Church, presented a unique challenge and opportunity. My studies never focused on religious history and focused mainly on society, culture, race, and gender in the United States. I thought the archives presented an excellent opportunity to expand my historical perspective as well as develop my skills in archiving and cataloging.  I have enjoyed the opportunity so far to work with a different subject matter and see how my skills from my history degree overlap and synergize with archival management.

So far I have completed one project and am actively completing another. In my first project, I organized and catalogued the personal papers of Vernon Couillard, a prominent scholar, professor, and preacher in the Moravian Church. The papers included letters, programs, educational materials, and his scholarly work. I organized the papers into two broad categories (personal and professional) and then sorted those categories based on subject matter. My current project involves the photographs of Eugene A. Rau. His photographs are stored as glass plates and are of locations and events in Bethlehem, including Nisky Hill, Lehigh University, and Moravian churches. I am cataloging the images and providing access to these unique views.

The challenges I experienced had to do with my lack of experience in archiving and cataloging. I essentially started at ground zero in terms of how to archive and the technology that is utilized. I had minimal experience in how to catalog and organize documents and artifacts, and I never used the applications that record and organize the archives’ collection. I leaned heavily on the Moravian staff, Tom and Kaitlin in particular, to acquire resources and guidance on how to use the technological components as well as how to catalog and archive materials.

I have enrolled in Simmons University to pursue my master’s degree in library and information science, focusing in archival management. My time with the archives will provide an excellent framework as I begin to develop my skills and experience in archive management. Having prior experience and training fresh in my mind will go a long way in succeeding in my graduate program. I look forward to building upon what I know to build a successful career in archival management and cataloging.