Art history majors Katherine Cornell ’15 and Kaytlynn Lynch ’15 teamed up with the Geneva Historical Society as interns earlier this year to help preserve the rich history of community by digitizing the photography archives and helping to catalog items in the collection. The Historical Society collects, catalogs, preserves and studies artifacts that offer a visual and tangible connection to Geneva’s past.
Spanning the entire academic year, Lynch’s project primarily focused on the scanning of photography archives from a particular set known as the “Oakley Men Photographs.” Lynch scanned the photos in preparation for digitizing and uploading online to http://www.newyorkheritage.org. Cornell was also involved in several archiving and cataloging projects, including preserving photos, discharging old maps from the collection, and transcribing and researching World War II era letters.
Lynch says her experience with the Historical Society was particularly significant not only for the archival skills she developed, but also because of the personal ties that she has locally. Her maternal grandmother, Elizabeth Fordon Vogan ’33, grew up on the family dairy farm on New York State Route 14A.
“I knew that not only would I be giving back to the Geneva community, but I would also be gaining immeasurable positive experiences through this opportunity at Geneva Historical Society,” Lynch says.
For Cornell, the project was the perfect way to gain professional experience in archiving, while serving as an opportunity to further appreciate the rich history of Geneva and the surrounding area.
“Interning at the Geneva Historical Society has impacted the way I look at Geneva,” Cornell says. “It is really quite beneficial to learn about the town or city you live in because it adds a layer of meaning to your daily life. Every time I walk downtown or drive past the Sampson State Park, I think about the 1940s photographs I have seen or the personal letters I have transcribed.”
Cornell, who worked at the Rochester Museum and Science Center, was first put into contact with Geneva Historical Society Archivist Karen Osburn through Lea Kemp, the librarian and archivist at the museum. As president of the Art History Society, Cornell invited Osburn to talk to the club about opportunities and experiences at the Historical Society. Assistant Professor of Art and Architecture Liliana Leopardi also influenced Lynch and Cornell as the faculty leader of the Art History Society.
On campus, Lynch is a member and the former president of the HWS Art History Society. She has served as a Teaching Colleague for Senior Associate Dean of Hobart College and Assistant Professor of History Rocco “Chip” Capraro’s course, “Golf Course Architecture: History and Theory.” She also conducted an independent study on the same subject. Lynch also studied abroad in Rome during spring semester 2014 and served as an Art History Teaching Fellow during the 2014-2015 academic year.
Following graduation, Lynch will be interning with the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, N.Y. She will work close with its education department, and will be developing gallery guides, researching exhibitions and organizing workshops for children and families. Lynch, who aspires to be a museum educator, also intends to get her master’s degree in museum studies during fall 2015.
A recent 2015-16 Fulbright U.S. Student Award recipient, Cornell previously worked at the Rochester Museum and Science Center. She also served as president of the Art History Society. In addition, Cornell is completing an honors project and working at Davis Gallery.
Cornell has deferred her start date for the University of Rochester joint master’s degree program in photographic preservation and collections management. She anticipates commencing her studies there in fall 2016.