Angel Noel (Cohort III, Philippines) recently completed one of our international internship opportunities in Budapest. We are excited to share her experience with you!
After having a rewarding and enriching experience of doing an education-track internship in Israel, I decided to explore the possibility of learning more through taking an internship in the museum world of Holocaust Studies. When the opportunity in the Hungarian Jewish Museum and Archives in Budapest opened, I knew it was one that I should not forego. With the prospect of creating or collaborating to work on exhibits about the Holocaust, I was very excited to be given this opportunity.
I decided to focus on two projects for my 4-week internship at the Hungarian Jewish Museum and Archives, comprising a project each for the museum and archives sector of the institution. I was tasked to conduct a visitor survey at the museum and I also worked on an online archive of artifacts from the Holocaust collection.
The visitor survey aimed to look into the visitors’ museum experience and interests and gather quality-oriented data which would be applied in the museum’s current phase of reconstruction. Over 90 respondents participated in the survey and the demographics were fairly diverse according to age, religion and nationality. Since the survey aimed to gather a comprehensive visitor feedback, the questions ranged from logistical concerns to content-wise assessments. And with much success, the survey reflected the visitors’ positive interest in learning more about the Hungarian Jews’ history, cultural and religious practices, and the Hungarian narrative of the Holocaust. Moreover, it has equally yielded constructive criticisms on enabling a better understanding of these topics. Visitors were surveyed about how the Hungarian Jewish Museums compare to other Jewish museums the visitors have been to (those in the USA, Israel, Berlin, and Warsaw to name a few). Overall, the survey mirrored a good amount of feedback and suggestions aimed to improve and enrich the visitors’ experience. I am honored and privileged to be able to contribute in this process of revising and improving the Hungarian Jewish Museum and Archives.
Additionally, it was also very interesting for me to dig in their archives and work with artifacts. I was given the opportunity to take photographs and learn about the different and remarkable items from their Holocaust collection. To name a few are a Hanukkah Menorah made of bread, an underskirt made from a Tallit, an aluminum bracelet with a heart-shaped pendant, a Mezuza which was encased and made into a necklace, and an intricately made Seviszi board in a labor camp. I worked on several artifacts to add to the online archive of the Holocaust collection which was set-up and initiated by my colleague Annette Covrigaru, who was also an intern there early this year. These objects reflect the remotely known traces of humanity among those who were victims of the Hungarian Holocaust. It perfectly fused my interest in photography, history, archival research and museums together in a single project. Now, the artifacts are available to view online (http://milevblog.tumblr.com/archive), each with brief descriptions that had been translated to English.
On my last day, I presented the outcome of both projects to the team I had the pleasure of working with at the museum and archives and with them was also the museum’s director, Zsuzsanna Toronyi. The internship allowed me to gain understanding on the history of Hungary, Hungarian Jewry and their narrative of the WWII and the Holocaust. I found it fascinating that the Hungarian Jewish Museum and Archives has the synagogue, the garden and the new 100! exhibit to collectively present various events in the history of the Hungarian Jewish community. I think the institution, although currently limited, has a lot of potential in creating exhibits according to significant historical events in the Jewish communities in Hungary because of its unique and rich history over different periods under different regimes.
Interested in interning at the Jewish Museum in Budapist, or applying for our MA in Holocaust Studies Program? You can find the application and more information at our website:/