A Day in the Life of a Kennedy Center Archives Intern

The Kennedy Center
3 min readNov 11, 2022

Olivia DiAcetis studies economics at The University of Texas at Dallas and interned in the Archives during the summer of 2022.

The Archives holds a variety of materials that document the history of the Kennedy Center from its original concept to the present. Throughout the summer, I’ve learned a lot about careers in arts administration and archival skills that will help me in my future career. Interning at the Kennedy Center has been a wonderful experience that I would recommend to anyone interested in working in the arts. While each day in the Archives looks different due to the variety of processing projects and reference requests we work on, here is what a typical day looks like for me.

Early Morning: I start my mornings by checking my email and reviewing my calendar for the day to see what meetings are happening. Then I complete any weekly tasks I do on that day.

  • On Mondays, this means saving digital programs. While the Center has moved away from paper programs, the Archives still want to capture the details of performances for future reference.
  • On Tuesdays, I collect and index new window cards from the current season to keep the collection up to date.
  • Fridays are datalogger collection days, where I gather data about the environmental conditions like the temperature and humidity of the archival storage spaces located across the Center and create a weekly report to share at our team meeting. Keeping these factors at a steady level helps protect the records from deterioration.

Mid-morning: I usually have a few meetings at this time. The Archives and Public Relations teams have “huddles” every other week to check in on the previous week’s work and to get organized for the coming week. I also meet regularly with the other Kennedy Center interns for sessions with department VPs. They share professional development tips and the variety of career paths that have led them to the Kennedy Center. Some personal highlights include meeting Kennedy Center President Deborah Rutter and learning about the Center’s dedication to accessibility through the work of the VSA department.

I got to help distribute press tickets to the National Symphony Orchestra Jurassic Park in Concert event celebrating John William’s 90th birthday and stick around to watch the show.

Afternoon: After a lunch break, I get back to working on my independent projects. Some of these projects include creating an inventory of small print photographs and photo CDs and moving them into envelopes and cases that will keep them protected for future use. I did similar work with the window card collection, which includes posters advertising performances going back to the 1970s. These are grouped by theater and serve as great visuals for celebrating the Center’s history.

This partial view of the photograph collection shows three of the CD boxes I worked on (second shelf from top) and negatives and contact sheet cartons.

Another project I completed was digitizing the Master Schedules records, which included scanning 2,600 pages of schedules that list what events took place in any performance space since the Center opened in 1971. These schedules are useful when answering questions about performance history. By creating a digital copy, these records can be used anywhere onsite and are keyword searchable. During this time, I would also shadow the Processing Archivist and Archives Assistant on other projects like records transfers (when other departments share documents with permanent value with the Archives) and reference requests (when the public or other staff have research questions about Kennedy Center history).

An example of reference requests I helped answer include verifying that this statue, Asase Due, by Dr. Oku Ampofo is on display in the African Room near the Opera House.

Interested in exploring the Kennedy Center’s paid internship program? Visit our website to see all of our available placement opportunities, eligibility requirements, and upcoming deadlines!