Museum Collections and Research

Safia Francis
Emphasis Area
Spatial Organization & Design Thinking

Safia Francis interned with the Tucson Center for Black Life and gained experience in museum inventorying, cataloging, and researching artifacts.

How did you get your internship and what was the focus of the experience?

I secured my internship with the Tucson Center for Black Life after many conversations with Stephanie Springer (the Internship Director). I had previously shared with her that working in a local museum was an interest of mine, so when she heard of this internship opportunity, she thought of me. I have previously interned at the Drawing Center and the Tucson Museum of Art in their education department, so I have some previous experience in the field. I have also been accepted in a graduate program that is also about museums, so I wanted an internship that would give me more experience for this.

The focus of this internship was looking at the preservation and renewal of the Tucson Afro Heritage Museum and turning it into the Tucson Center For Black Life. Most of the work that I did revolved around creating the museum inventory catalog and doing background and historical research. I really enjoyed when I was able to find exact information on various artifacts that are in the collection and when I could connect them to a broader history.

I sharpened my PowerPoint skills and my general research skills. I also developed skills that have to do with communicating and being a part of multifaceted team that is juggling a lot of various things to make the project come together.

How was the internship related to your Applied Humanities degree?

My Applied Humanities coursework reminded me that when dealing with cultures that are not your own it is important to take that into consideration and push forward their stories, experiences, and feelings rather than believing that you know everything. My major prepared me for this experience by giving me open-minded courses that focused on culture and critical thinking.