Contact Information

Lydia Slattery
Media Relations Specialist

slatly01@luther.edu

Phone: 563-387-1417

Luther College student Kamina Gager lands internship at the National Museum of American History in D.C.

DECORAH, IOWA—Kamina Gager, a junior at Luther College majoring in history, knows she wants work as an archivist one day. Through her hard work at Luther and passion for history, she landed an internship at a world-renowned museum in Washington, D.C., where she’s spending her spring semester. 

Gager in front of Smithsonian Museum of American History.

Gager in front of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History

Gager is one of two students interning as a processing and reference archivist in the Archives Center of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History (NMAH). Part of her job is helping to evaluate boxes of historical items, and processing and cataloging them for the museum as part of a large-scale processing project. 

“There will be a box that’s been sitting in storage since the 1950s and no one really knows what’s in it yet. I get to be the person who really figures out what we have and why it matters,” Gager said. “I love organizing materials.”

One of her tasks included verifying, organizing and housing documents, photographs and other archival materials related to American pocket watches that are part of the Jon and Jennifer Hanson Watch and Clock Collection

“Kamina approached her internship in the Archives Center with tremendous enthusiasm and curiosity. She was open to learning all aspects of our archival program and she tackled collection work documenting a wide variety of topics including watches and clocks to bridges to advertising to music,” said Alison Oswald, an archivist for the Smithsonian and Gager’s supervisor at NMAH. “I have no doubt that based on her experience in the Archives Center, that Kamina will pursue a career working for a culture heritage organization.”

She also aids in overseeing the reading room at NMAH, where she helps researchers find sources and materials they need for projects. 

Gager in National Museum of American History.

Gager in in NMAH where she is interning this spring.

Gager is interning through the Lutheran College Washington Semester, a personalized program for students at Lutheran-affiliated colleges to take advantage of academic and professional opportunities in the nation’s capital. 

As a high school student in Woodbury, Minnesota, Gager knew she wanted to study history when she got to college. Gager, who is also minoring in museum studies and classical studies, eventually chose Luther for all the opportunities she would have as a history major. 

“I came to Luther because it has a museum studies minor, since not a lot of undergraduate programs offer it; it’s usually a graduate school program,” Gager said. “I knew the museum studies minor would make me stand out when I eventually apply for graduate programs.”

Before heading off to D.C., Gager worked in Luther’s Anthropology Lab and Collections, which is where she found her passion for archiving. She originally had aspirations of becoming a museum curator, a person who designs exhibits, but quickly found working in the lab she loved to preserve and organize items, such as photographs and documents. She was drawn to making sense of objects that seem random at first glance, but tell a whole story when looked at closely. 

“Kamina’s curiosity, attention to detail and resourcefulness to address the complexity of tasks as an Anthropology Lab collections assistant reflects the strength of her liberal arts education,” said Destiny Crider, the Anthropology Lab manager who oversaw Gager. “She has worked with our ethnographic collections, trained in different methods of digitizing audio, video and archival documents, and applies a strong personal ethic to the duty of care to every object in our collection.”

About Luther College

At Luther College in beautiful Decorah, Iowa, students explore big questions and take action to benefit people, communities and society. Our academic programs, experiential approach to learning and welcoming community inspire students to learn actively, live purposefully and lead courageously for a lifetime of impact. Learn more at luther.edu.

Contact Information

Lydia Slattery
Media Relations Specialist

slatly01@luther.edu

Phone: 563-387-1417