Week 3: Who said work can't be fun?

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015


Brean Prefontaine

My third weekend in DC was filled with some much needed relaxation and sleep. Friday night was fairly uneventful. Some of the other interns living in my apartment decided to stay in and watch movies. The next morning was unfortunately and early morning. My coach back in Philadelphia had recommended a coach down here in DC so that I could keep skating and training over the summer. So, Saturday morning was my first lesson with him and things went really well. The only down side to the rink is that it takes about an hour to get there. This will make for some early mornings during the week since I will have to try and squeeze some practices in before work.

After the ice rink, I headed back to my apartment and decided to relax. I started a new book called The Maze Runner. I know that this book has been out for awhile, but I just now got around to it. I would highly recommend it to anyone that likes adventure books! I started it over the weekend and just finished it this morning. Now I get to watch the movie and read the next book in the series!

After laying around and reading for a few hours, I decided to go back out into the city and explore a little more. I desperately needed a haircut, so I made an appointment in Chinatown and had some time to kill before the appointment. I decided to head to the closest art museum and check it out. This happened to be two museums, The National Portrait Gallery and The Smithsonian American Art Museum, which share the same building. You may be thinking that these museums must be small since they are both in the same building. However, this particular building is massive with a beautiful courtyard in the center and houses three floors of art. The two museums are distinctly separated and housed in their respective halves of the building. I decided to start off with the Smithsonian American Art Museum which lead me to a special exhibit on Yasuo Kuniyoshi. This exhibit was the largest special exhibit that I have seen (and I feel as though I have seen quite a few in the LACMA and the Philadelphia Art Museum) and featured many different types of work created through various stages of the artist’s life. the exhibit contained 66 drawings and paintings (yes, I had to look that up on the museum’s webpage) but I particularly enjoyed the paintings and drawings that were done around the time of WWII. Since the artist was Japanese American he had to be very careful in the art that he produced during the war years.

After meandering through this exhibit and through the following permanent exhibits on the first floor, I made my way over to the National Portrait Gallery. I had no idea that there was an exhibit titled the American Presidents in this museum. As I headed up to the second floor, I was surprised to see a portrait of every man that has served as the president of the United States. I highly recommend for everyone to go see this exhibit. It was amazing to see some of the portraits that are featured in history books right there. I also liked how they highlighted some of the presidents for their contributions to this nation. Definitely a neat thing to see.

After a nice Saturday, I decided to relax all day on Sunday. Only having to leave the apartment to go grocery shopping was nice and I felt ready to take on the week. This week was busy at work. I started working on a new lesson plan that deals with anti-nepotism laws. This lesson plan was already written but all of the resources referred to books that school or teachers are not likely to have on hand. So, I having been working on creating source documents to go along with this lesson plan. Also, instead of having this lesson be a simple reading and discussion activity (which is how it was written) I decided to restructure the lesson so that it would include a debate portion. I also have been working on changing the lesson to allow students to see the issue from not only the female physicists point of view, but also from the college’s point of view. This is also the sort of work that I have been doing on all the other lesson plans that I have worked on. Connor (the other intern working with me) and Joann (the graduate student working with us) have also been working on revising lesson plans that they chose. Our goal is to really make the lesson plans more interactive and engaging for the students.

The other part of my week was spent preparing for the tour that we are giving the other interns on Monday of next week. As part of our internship, we have the opportunity to tour all of the different places that the SPS interns are working at this summer. The tour of the American Center of Physics (ACP) will be the first tour of the summer and all of the interns in the building are working together to plan a fun day for our fellow interns. Since Connor and I work in the AIP Center for History of Physics we have a lot to show off. The Center for History is also the home of the Niels Bohr LIbrary and Archives. This meant that not only could we show off our awesome cubicle (which is really not that exciting) but we could also show off the library and the archives. So, Connor and I came up with the idea of pulling some items from the library and archives and create a sort of exhibit that we can show on our tour. As far as books went, we would show the various books that we are currently using for our lesson plans. We also decided that we could pull some artifacts and print some photos that the other interns might find interesting.

A few days this week were devoted looking through the catalogue and finding items in the archives that we might want to show. Since our work is focused on the women in the history of physics, we decided to look for some interesting artifacts either from actual female physicists or from publications dealing with women in physics. On Wednesday we went down to the archives with Melanie, one of the archivists, and looked through all of the things that we thought might be interesting to pull. This worked out well and we narrowed down our list of materials. We also talked to Savannah to get some photos printed out. We decided to dedicate Friday to setting up our little exhibit. We cropped all of the photos, created labels, and arranged all of our artifacts in the processing room of the archives. I am really excited with how everything came out and I cannot wait to share this with our fellow interns during the tour on Monday. (See the included photos of our exhibit!)

Outside of work, we also managed to go to a real baseball game this week. On Wednesday, or otherwise known as Connor's birthday, we went and saw a game between the Nationals and the Braves. Of course the Nationals won.

I had a busy week, but I know that this weekend will even busier with a trip back to Philadelphia planned on Saturday and spending the whole day with my boyfriend in DC on Sunday. Well more on that later! See ya!


Setting up our mini exhibit in the processing room of the archives
Still setting up our mini exhibit
Our entire mini exhibit for the tour on Monday
A selection of materials from the archives focusing on Women in Physics
Some photos and personal artifacts found in Nancy Roman's personal papers collection in the archives
Scored a free cupcake at the office!
Connor's birthday celebration at our cubicle

Brean Prefontaine